'Underfire' Uber may face ban in France as new licensing regulations take effect in 2015

UberWashington, Dec 16 : Following widespread protests in France, the government has signaled that it may ban Uber's low-cost service, UberPop, across the country as a new law requiring taxi drivers to hold licenses or insurance goes into effect on January 1.

The news came as three taxi unions occupied major highways around Paris to protest against Uber and the "unfair competition" it poses. The unrest was sparked by a French court ruling that said on Friday that UberPop could continue operations in France, reported The Verge.

The new regulations will require Uber's taxi drivers to hold professional licenses or insurance like other French chauffeurs, failing which they may be sentenced to two years in prison and a 300,000 pound fine.

Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Uber's general manager for Western Europe, said that the service is operating today and he does not see "anything changing" unless a court determines otherwise.

The president of the French Taxi Association admitted that it remains unclear if the new laws will apply to UberPop.

The blow is the most recent in a string of setbacks faced by the company which has been banned in India, Spain and Thailand and has been thrown out of Netherlands. It has also been sued by the City of Portland for not complying with its licensing laws. (ANI)