Online taxi

Police raid Paris offices of online taxi service Uber

PARIS — French police raided the Paris offices of taxi app company Uber on Tuesday as part of an investigation into its controversial ride-sharing service, the company told AFP.
The headquarters of the French branch of the American firm was targeted at the request of the Paris prosecutor’s office.
The survey focuses on the smartphone app UberPop, which connects non-professional drivers in their own cars with passengers via their mobile phone or website, for rides at budget fares.
The company called the raid an “attempt to intimidate,” adding that dozens of non-professional UberPop users had been fined since the start of the year.
Uber, which operates in around 250 cities in 50 countries, has become an object of scorn from traditional taxi companies struggling to survive amid the rise of the Silicon Valley challenger, founded in 2009.
“We consider this raid to be a disproportionate action carried out on a very fragile legal basis,” Uber France boss Thibaud Simphal told the L’Obs magazine site.
Earlier this month, hundreds of taxi drivers from Belgium and France virtually paralyzed central Brussels with their vehicles in protest against web-based Uber.
A hundred French taxi drivers traveled to Brussels to take part in the demonstration.
UberPop is technically illegal in France, but the company has appealed a 100,000 euro ($113,000) fine it received last year.
Uber’s US founder Travis Kalanick said the system would create 50,000 new jobs in Europe this year and help take 400,000 cars off the road by encouraging drivers to use taxis instead of their own vehicles.