Published: April 25, 2014
France may force online car-service companies such as Uber Technologies Inc. to forgo providing maps that pinpoint nearby cars-for-hire in their popular apps, the latest twist in a battle that has spread across Europe between traditional cabs and the car-hailing apps. A government-commissioned report, “A Taxi for the Future, Jobs for France” proposed the in-app map ban Thursday as part of a menu of recommendations.
Under pressure from traditional cab drivers in the country, a new law was introduced that required the likes of Uber, LeCab and SnapCar to wait 15 minutes before picking people up, giving normal cabs a better shot at landing the business. It didn’t survive very long, not that it did much to calm some old-school cabbies anyway. Now, a new report, due to be presented to the French Prime Minister today, suggests disarming the newer services of one of their greatest weapons, and turning it over to regular taxis. In addition to the idea of bringing in a costlier registration process for Uber and friends, as well as straight-up declaring ride-sharing setups like UberPOP illegal, the report moves to abolish any kind of pick-up delay.
Instead, though, it recommends the competitive balance be restored by stripping modern taxi services of GPS tags, meaning users can’t track nearby cabs within their company’s respective apps. Furthermore, the report wants to add this user-friendly feature to traditional cabs, in the hope live-tracking will encourage ride-seekers to use them. Any and all of these proposals would need to be spun out into formal laws before any implementation, of course, but it sounds to us like taking power from one party, and giving to another