The anti-innovation, anti-competition war against Uber taxis: Parisian edition

posted at 7:01 pm on January 4, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

I’ve previously regaled you with the trials and tribulations through which Uber taxi — the innovative, efficient, consumer-friendly, and tech-savvy cab company that allows you to hail, track, and pay for a taxi through a single smartphone app — is continuing to fight the good free-enterprise fight in blue-leaning cities throughout the country, but their entrepreneurial expansion is encountering similar and entirely predictable obstacles in taking this thing international.

It is apparently a secret only to the ruling Socialists that France’s high-tax, high-regulation, debt-burdened, labor-law heavy economic infrastructure is retarding the incentives that lead to creative destruction and economic growth, and much like in New York City and Washington, D.C., France allows plenty of recourse for entrenched special interests to rent-seek and use the bureaucracy to thwart their would-be competitors. Uber taxi and several similar French-based companies have lately been posing exactly such a free-market challenge to the established businesses there, who used their political clout to force through a rule that would actually force Uber drivers, et al, to wait a full and completely arbitrary fifteen minutes before picking up passengers who hail a car through their smartphone. Unbelievable.

Fortunately, and much like in blue American cities, Uber and friends are challenging the new French regulation, via the WSJ:

California-based Uber and French competitors including Chauffeur-Prive.com and Allocab.com said Monday that they are planning an appeal to France’s Conseil d’Etat, the country’s highest administrative court, to block the new French decree on competition grounds soon after it goes into effect on Jan. 1.

Under the new rule, all car services—but not licensed taxis—must wait “at least 15 minutes” between taking a reservation and picking up a passenger, more than double what car services like Uber say is their normal wait time. The only exception: pickups at four- and five-star hotels and at industry expos.

“It’s an effort by the government to slow down innovation to preserve the interests of traditional companies,” said Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Uber’s head of France and Northern Europe. “We feel good about our chances of blocking it.” …

Paris has been a fertile ground for the new app-based car-service companies, with more than more than 12,000 vehicles now available—compared with nearly zero in 2010. It is one of Uber’s two biggest markets outside the U.S., alongside London. Revenue at Chauffeur-Prive.com is growing 10% week to week, its founder says.

Well, sure, but never mind that consumers obviously want to purchase this convenient, efficient, simple service, because heaven forbid that Uber taxi and other online-based services should be allowed to take up any market share from less innovative, uncompetitive, old-and-busted business models. That would be mean, or something.


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Hollande now taxes time.

Whats next? A tax on thoughts? Well, that would be unfair. Liberals would haven’t to pay it.

BobMbx on January 4, 2014 at 7:27 PM

FORWARD to the past!!!

It is going to be a glorious future comrades, GLORIOUS!!

jukin3 on January 4, 2014 at 7:35 PM

a rule that would actually force Uber drivers, et al, to wait a full and completely arbitrary fifteen minutes before picking up passengers who hail a car through their smartphone. Unbelievable.

For France? Not really. Remember, France is the place that declared working overtime or staying open too many days was unfair competition by businesses. I believe the French Eurotrash geniuses also declared that students who do homework were practicing unfair competition to those cr@ppy students who didn’t. This new rule is right in line with French “thinking”. Nothing new, here.

The biggest mistakes America ever made were saving the French. That nation should have ended back at the 2nd or 3rd “republic”. What a bunch of losers.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on January 4, 2014 at 7:40 PM

What was the reason they gave for establishing the 15 minute wait time? I’m sure they had to give some sort of a reason that could make the rule, at least, look legitimate and not just government favoritism.

philoquin on January 4, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Paris could save millions by not painting those useless lane stripes on their streets.

viking01 on January 4, 2014 at 8:21 PM

So users just call a cab 15 mins earlier than they need it.

BTW, Directive 10-298 did ban any new inventions so we’ll see how that plays out.

AH_C on January 4, 2014 at 9:26 PM

allows you to hail, track, and pay for a taxi through a single smartphone app

Meh. Nothing to do with free enterprise, but I’ll take a pass on adding to the NSA’s didgital database. Too “Uber” and hipster slack-a$$ish for my taste. No problem getting a taxi anyway and it’s really not all that complicated.

whatcat on January 4, 2014 at 9:45 PM

…WTF?…INSANE!

KOOLAID2 on January 4, 2014 at 9:49 PM

Under the new rule, all car services—but not licensed taxis—must wait “at least 15 minutes” between taking a reservation and picking up a passenger, more than double what car services like Uber say is their normal wait time. The only exception: pickups at four- and five-star hotels and at industry expos.

Considering this is France, not surprising…

:)

William Eaton on January 4, 2014 at 10:12 PM

Well, sure, but never mind that consumers obviously want to purchase this convenient, efficient, simple service, because heaven forbid that Uber taxi and other online-based services should be allowed to take up any market share from less innovative, uncompetitive, old-and-busted business models. That would be mean, or something.

Erika, I mostly support what you have to say, but I have to tell you that you have a writing problem. You need more variety in your tone to keep reading you interesting. You are monotonous. Ed M has my email. I would like to help you improve your writing.

thuja on January 4, 2014 at 11:13 PM

thuja on January 4, 2014 at 11:13 PM

You really are a pretentious little peckerwood.

BTW; How’s your writing career coming along? Makin’ lotsa bucks, are ya?

Solaratov on January 4, 2014 at 11:40 PM

Cars? Pfff… what we need are faster buggy whips!

strictnein on January 5, 2014 at 12:21 AM

Ayn Rand is a Prophet. The same thing happened in Atlas Shrugs, government decree forcing a speed limit on trains because those running on Reardon Metal rails can go faster than everyone else.

hadsil on January 5, 2014 at 12:47 AM

La concurrence n’est pas autorisé.

Correction: La concurrence n’est pas autorisée.

Annar on January 5, 2014 at 7:00 AM

The Left lives in perpetual fear that somebody, somewhere may actually earn an honest buck (or franc).

MJBrutus on January 5, 2014 at 7:31 AM

Competition is unfair. It favors those who want to work hard and be innovative. Can’t have that now can we? What is needed is a law to make things less dependent on competition. You know level out that old playing field. In a sense of fairness we have to do that not by lifting up and promoting a spirit of competitiveness in the looters and leeches but by hamstringing and holding back the productive. Ayn Rand was a prophet.

Oldnuke on January 5, 2014 at 9:30 AM

I think Erika Johnsen likes this French socialist government. It’s obviously going to provide stories of economic insanity till interrupted by electoral defeat, and it’s not in charge of America so she doesn’t have to worry about it.

David Blue on January 5, 2014 at 10:25 AM