Taxi dispute gets physical in France with attack on Uber car
During a day of protests by taxi drivers in Paris, an Uber car carrying a technology executive was left with slashed tires and broken windows.
Stephen Shanklandprincipal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Expertiseprocessors, semiconductors, web browsers, quantum computing, supercomputers, AI, 3D printing, drones, computer science, physics, programming, materials science, USB, UWB, Android, digital photography, scienceCredentials
I've been covering the technology industry for 24 years and was a science writer for five years before that. I've got deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and other dee
PARIS -- The idea behind the Uber car service -- use a smartphone app to easily summon a car, inform the driver about your destination, and pay -- got its start in Paris. But resistance in the French capital turned ugly Monday when an attack left an Uber car with slashed tires and a broken window.
"Got attacked in an Uber by cab drivers on strike near Paris airport: smashed windows, flat tires, vandalized vehicle, and bleeding hands," tweeted Kat Borlongan, co-founder of Five by Five, a firm specializing in the idea of open data.
"Attackers tried to get in the car, but our brave Uber driver maneuvered us to safety, changed the tire on the freeway, and got us home," she said. "We're fine. Grateful that our Uber driver was cool-headed and that the doors were locked," she added.
Also on Monday, Uber rival Allocab reported an attack. Allocab Marketing Manager Christophe Amalric said in a tweet that a driver in the company's network had been assaulted and that the car was damaged.
The taxi strike, involving a road-clogging drive from Paris' two major airports to central Paris, is protesting "VTC" (voiture de tourisme avec chauffeur) services such as Uber, LeCab, SnapCar, and AlloCab -- and a tax increase. The protest was contentious, involving pepper spray and thrown eggs, according to Le Parisien's account, but apparently some conflicts are between taxi drivers who are striking and those who are trying to work.
Traditional taxi businesses have often been hostile toward Uber and similar rivals, and many cities are also imposing obstacles. In France, the resistance took the form of a rule starting January 1 that requires a minimum 15-minute wait before an Uber-like service can actually pick up a passenger.