France to ban 'carpooling' app amid taxi strike

Taxi drivers stage one-day strike against use of UberPop in France after Netherlands and Spain outlaw U.S.-based transport app

Taxi drivers stage one-day strike against use of UberPop in France after Netherlands and Spain outlaw U.S.-based transport app

PARIS - France will ban the “UberPop” transport application by the beginning of 2015, the country’s interior ministry revealed on Monday.

Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet, speaking on French television, described the app provided by San Francisco-based Uber as both illegal and dangerous.

"Not only is it illegal to offer this service but additionally for the consumer there is a real danger," Brandet said.

The low-cost "carpooling" app puts members of the public in touch with others who want to offer ride-sharing, reducing each person's travel costs.

The company says it has 160,000 users in France.

However, a Paris court last week ruled out a lawsuit seeking to ban the UberPop app on grounds of unfair competition. However, the company was fined 100,000 euros ($124,000) for presenting the UberPop service as a kind of carpool.

Today’s announcement comes as taxi drivers stage a one-day strike against the use of app in France. Their trade union vowed earlier to block 260 km (160 miles) of roads around Paris.

Last June, French taxi drivers protested as part of a Europe-wide day of action against the internet taxi-app firm.

Last Monday, Dutch judges banned the application, threatening the U.S. company with fines of up to $123,000.

UberPop app was also banned last week in Spain.

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