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Oh those crazy Frenchies! Parisian cabbies smash up Uber-booked rival ride

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French taxi drivers have taken to the streets to show their displeasure with Uber, a smartphone app that helps people find drivers-for-hire and car sharers.

Uber-booked motors yesterday came under attack from cabbies, who are furious that they must compete against the internet service.

Kat Borlongan, co-founder of open data management firm Five By Five, said that while riding in an Uber vehicle on a freeway in Paris, she witnessed protesters blocking traffic and targeting the car service's vehicles. Borlongan's ride suffered significant damage in the attack, she said, but was able to escape.

Borlongan reported no serious injuries and said that the driver was able to get to safety and fix a flat tire caused by the attack. The company has confirmed the report that its vehicle had been targeted.

"That taxis chose to use violence today is unacceptable, that they chose to strike is their business," the company said in a blog post. "However, Parisians also have a choice when it comes to moving around in their city, and today’s incident certainly discourages Parisians from choosing a taxi for their next ride."

Uber has been under fire in France because it has been seen as competition for the nation's registered taxi services. Earlier this year, the country enacted a law that enforces a mandatory 15-minute waiting period between reservation-placement and pickup for any private service as a way to distinguish the companies from taxis, which can instantly pick up passengers.

Private car companies such as Uber and Lyft have seen their popularity soar in recent years as social networking and smartphone platforms have allowed users to quickly schedule rides and share information about the services.

The companies have seen significant blowback from the commercial taxi industry in many markets, however, with cabbies arguing that they are circumventing the heavily regulated systems for licensing and managing taxis in most major cities. ®

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