Uber’s ascension has been fought in New York with expanded taxi service, competing sharing economy conveyances, and even protests by the drivers themselves. New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission has even rolled out its own app, Arro, to bring Uber’s main selling point—on demand car service—to the city’s yellow cabs. And now France is doing the same.
The app, Le Taxi, is still in beta, but the French government hopes that a larger pool of drivers across the country will overpower Uber, which only operates in eight cities in France. Along with the Thévenoud Law—which restricts car services like Uber to certain cars and makes it illegal for them to use geo-location to find users—the country has shifted the advantage to taxi drivers who, among other restrictions, are exempted from having to return to their place of dispatch after each trip.
While Rude Baguette‘s Liam Boogar doesn’t think Le Taxi will work—the start-up blog’s CEO believes that taxi drivers may be reticent to hand route data over to the government or be subjected to Le Taxi’s rating system—another app, VTC Cab, may have a worse road to hoe.
Started by a consortium of VTC drivers (that’s voitures de tourisme avec chauffeur; roughly the equivalent of New York’s black livery cabs), the app aims to compete with Uber on the scale of the US’s Lyft and Gett services and with the same Thévenoud Law restrictions on its drivers, many of whom are still reeling from Uber’s minimum fare reductions over the last year. Even worse, while Uber and existing competitors continue to grow in the Fifth Republic and Le Taxi warms up its tires, VTC Cab has yet to be released.