The company shut down its UberPop division in France.
A French court ruled that UberPop was an illegal taxi business in the country and fined the ridesharing service 800,000 euros (approx. $1,149M CAD), according to TechCrunch. Under a suspended sentence, the company only needs to write a check for half that amount, though. In addition, Uber France CEO Thibaud Simphal and the firm’s general manager for Europe Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty also received fines of 30,000 euros and 20,000 euros ($43,000 and $28,800 CAD) respectively. The case decided they were the offending service’s bosses and therefore deserved punishment, too.
UberPop in France was similar to the ridesharing service in the United States and Canada because anyone was eligible to begin ferrying passengers. However, the company's drivers didn't have the specific licenses that the European country required. The situation became heated when the taxi union staged a demonstration against the allegedly illegal competition by blocking traffic. Amid intense pressure from the group and the government, Uber shut down the division there in July 2015.
The court's ruling is likely the final nail in the coffin for any prospect of UberPop’s return to French streets. The company continues to operate there, though. It also has a workforce of over 12,000 professional drivers who offer chauffeured rides through the firm’s app.
Uber's next step could be taking drivers out of its vehicles entirely. The company is currently perfecting the technology in a self-driving Ford Fusion Hybrid that is testing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A rumor also hints the firm is in negotiations with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to partner on autonomous tech. If successful, the new driverless ridesharing service would give Uber even more regulatory hurdles to jump over.