A group of Uber drivers staged a protest outside the company's Paris office Friday morning over a recent reduction in rates across the French capital. As the French newspaper L'Express reports, the group of about 50 chauffeurs were demonstrating against a 20 percent fare reduction for the company's UberX service and a 25 percent cut for UberPool, which went into effect today. The protesters were eventually dispersed by police in riot gear.
Uber introduced the rate cut in response to recent promotional campaigns from French taxi companies, which have offered lower fares for young passengers and late night trips. The San Francisco-based company said it would compensate drivers for the difference over the next six weeks, writing in a blog post that the increased volume of passengers would ultimately boost their revenue. The post also noted that drivers in New York saw their hourly turnover increase by 50 percent following a similar fare reduction, but the drivers protesting this morning apparently aren't convinced.
Uber's rate reduction in Paris comes more than two weeks after France's highest court upheld a ban on the company's low-cost UberPop service, which was at the center of widespread protests that taxi unions staged earlier this year. Uber has faced regulatory hurdles in many of the countries it currently operates in, but the opposition from French taxi unions has been particularly fierce. Two Uber France executives are currently facing criminal charges related to the operation of UberPop.
Drivers in the US have staged protests over rate cuts, as well. Earlier this year, The New York Observer reported on an Uber fare reduction in Washington, DC, where some drivers accused the company of "undercutting Uber’s competition at any cost." Drivers who spoke to The Observer said they were working harder for less money following the cut, and that they had considered striking in protest.
An Uber France spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on today's demonstration.