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French cabbies angry at Uber block Paris airports, highway

Thursday, June 25, 2015 - 13:56
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French cab drivers angry at competition from taxi app Uber on Thursday blocked access to Paris airports and on a busy highway around the capital as they protested losing customers to the popular service.

[PARIS] French cab drivers angry at competition from taxi app Uber on Thursday blocked access to Paris airports and on a busy highway around the capital as they protested losing customers to the popular service.

The "peripherique" highway that encircles the French capital was closed in both directions in the west after drivers put up barricades on the roads, officials said.

Access to three terminals at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport in the north was blocked and cabs were converging on the Orly airport in the south and at train stations inside the city.

"The goal is to block space because we are really fed up," said Karim Asnoun of the CGT union.

Thousands of cabs were also due to assemble in several of France's other major cities as part of the strike on Thursday.

Taxi drivers in France are furious at US-based Uber, which they say is endangering their jobs by taking customers away from licensed cab companies.

They, like their colleagues in several other countries, have held several protests against the app - some of which have turned violent, with Uber clients and drivers reporting being assaulted.

On at least two occasions in Strasbourg last week, taxi drivers posed as customers in order to lure Uber drivers to isolated spots where they were assaulted by other cab drivers and their vehicles damaged.

Uber's mobile phone app puts customers in touch with private drivers who then take them where they want to go, at prices lower than those of traditional taxis.

While popular with consumers, Uber is facing increasing limits on its activities in EU countries and a barrage of legal challenges spurred on by a furious taxi lobby, who says Uber drivers should be regulated the same way as normal cabs.

AFP

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