Banned Again: Uber Faces Heat in France for Low-Cost Service

Dec 16, 2014 02:00 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

Uber is in trouble again.

The popular car-sharing service, which is in 53 countries and continues to expand, is facing heat in France for its lower-cost UberPop offering.

In an action that kicks in Jan. 1, the French government has banned UberPop for not meeting a licensing requirement that says all drivers who transport paying passengers must have a license and appropriate insurance, the New York Times reported.

UberPop accounts for around 40 percent, or 200,000 people, of Uber's customers in France. Its fares can be more than a third less than regular taxi costs and similar to America's UberX counterpart, it doesn't require drivers to have the same licenses required for traditional taxi drivers.

Critics say the service is unsafe for customers and unfairly competes with regular taxi cabs since it skirts licensing requirements.

"Currently, those who use UberPop are not protected in case of an accident," Pierre-Henry Brandet, the French Interior Ministry spokesman, told the French news channel BFM TV on Monday. "So not only is it illegal to offer the service, but for the consumer, it's a real danger."

The government ban came a few days after UberPop narrowly missed being banned in Paris, where taxi associations had filed suit against the ride-sharing company.

Uber is facing serious problems in many other markets as well, with New Delhi, India, banning the service earlier this month after a 27-year-old woman alleged that an Uber driver raped her.

Thailand and Spain have banned the app-based service as well. According to Thailand's Department of Land Transport, Uber drivers were not registered or insured to transport commercial passengers, and the service's credit card payment method did not fulfill requirements.

The same day that Uber was shut out in Thailand, the service was banned by a Spanish judge throughout the country. 

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