A trial against two managers of Uber car-sharing service has been suspended due to insufficient information. The Uber officials were detained in June on charges of providing illegal taxi services in France.
There is a possibility that Thibault Simphal and Pierre Dimitri Gore-Coty could be sent to prison after a constitutional court upheld the government’s decision last week to ban the ride-sharing app in France.
Uber France boss Simphal and Gore-Coty, the company’s general manager for western Europe, face up to two years in jail and heavy fines. They are accused of “deceptive commercial practices” and complicity in illegal activities.
But a French judge adjourned the trial until February on Wednesday, saying that more information was needed in the case.
French authorities have intensified their crackdown on UberPop, a low-cost service offered by Uber, which is considered by the country’s taxi drivers a threat to their livelihoods.
UberPop, a ride-hailing app, allows customers to catch a ride with people operating their private cars – at prices far below the cost of a conventional cab. Cabbies complain that UberPop drivers can undercut them due to much lower costs as they are not subject to the 250 hours of mandatory training that they have to undergo to get their licenses, nor are they required to carry the same insurance. This has also prompted some government officials to express concerns about the safety of passengers using the service, which was first introduced in the United States but now operates all around the world.
Cabbies unite against Uber
The French government banned the service in July after huge protests from cabbies. The app has also been declared illegal in Spain and Italy.
Earlier this month, hundreds of taxi drivers from across Europe jammed central Brussels in a protest against Uber . Some drivers came from as far as Spain, France and Switzerland to take part in the demonstration against the car-sharing service.
“They [Uber drivers] pay no charges, they have no social security, they are not even insured for transporting people,” said Ben Deniro, a taxi driver from Paris.
But the driver-hailing app believes Uber is the future of passenger commuting.
“Uber is about keeping cities moving – connecting people to safe, reliable and affordable transport at the tap of a button. These threats, by a small number of taxi drivers, only underline why people are increasingly choosing alternatives like Uber,” said a company spokesman.