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  • Paris mayor candidates Hidalgo, Belliard and Simonnet say Uber must go clean

    First London - now Uber is coming under focus by officials in Paris. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, and two of her opponents for re-election next week - David Belliard (Green) and Danielle Simonnet (Left) - are supporting the #TrueCostOfUber campaign to reduce the impact of private hire vehicles (PHVs) like Uber on air pollution and require them to go zero emissions. This campaign is led by clean air group Respire, European NGO federation Transport & Environment and citizens platform Sum of Us. A petition has already collected more than 22,000 signatures in support of the campaign.

    Hidalgo said: “Paris is the first French city to have introduced a low-emission zone, as far back as 2015. Because air pollution kills, diesel vehicles will be banned in 2024 and combustion engine vehicles in 2030. We are in the process of tackling this great challenge together with all professionals including, of course, the Parisian taxis but also the private hire vehicles, who must drive without polluting and must respect the social and economic rules of our country.” [1]

    Meanwhile, Belliard and Simonnet announced their support for the campaign on Twitter.

    Uber’s main European markets are London and Paris. In London Uber has been stripped of its operating licence by Transport for London over a series of ‘failures’ that put passenger safety at risk. In Paris, the #TrueCostOfUber campaign has been exposing the air pollution and climate change impacts of their operations.

    Since 2016, the number of PHVs including Uber drivers operating in the Paris region has tripled, from 10,000 to 30,000, according to the latest data. The overwhelming majority (90%) of PHVs in France are diesel and drive between 200-300km per day, worsening local air quality issues.

    Olivier Blond, president of local NGO Respire, said: “The tens of thousands of PHVs or taxis driving round-the-clock in the heart of Paris are a major source of pollution. But solutions exist. And while Uber is going electric in London by 2025, they have to do at least as well in Paris. We urge all other Mayoral candidates to take our pledge to stop the pollution of Uber in Paris. The health of Parisians is at stake.

    In cities, diesel vehicles are the main emitter of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which has serious health effects including heart and respiratory problems. The situation is already serious in the French capital, with more than a million Parisians breathing air that exceeds the recommendations of the World Health Organization.

    Nabil Berbour, campaign manager at SumOfUs, added: “We welcome the support by Anne Hidalgo, David Belliard and Danielle Simonnet to reduce pollution from PHVs in Paris, and ask along with the 22,000 petition signatories that the other candidates take a public stand on the subject.

    The Paris mayor has limited legal power to cap the number of PHVs or to impose emission criteria on these services. However, the city can steer these services’ operations, for instance through low and zero-emission zones or dedicated access to charging infrastructure.

    Sustainability and zero-emission mobility are major issues of the Paris campaign – and priority subjects for candidates – which can only be addressed if the impact of private hire vehicles on pollution is brought under control.

    Yoann Le Petit, new mobility expert at Transport & Environment, said: “The impact of ride-hailing platforms on pollution is now widely documented and it is clearly negative. Just as more affordable electric cars are filling showrooms, companies like Uber need to go 100% zero-emission vehicles by 2025 if they want to continue operating in major European cities.

    The global #TrueCostOfUber campaign asks Uber to use only zero-emission vehicles in major European cities [2] from 2025 onwards.

    Note to editors:

    [1] Mayor’s Hidalgo comments were made in an email to clean air group Respire on 2 March 2020:

    “Paris est la première ville française à avoir mis en place une Zone à faible émission, dès 2015. Parce que la pollution de l’air tue, les véhicules diesel seront interdits en 2024 et les véhicules thermiques en 2030. Ce grand défi, nous sommes en train de le relever en lien avec l’ensemble des professionnels, dont évidemment les taxis parisiens mais aussi les VTC qui doivent rouler sans polluer et respecter les règles sociales et économiques de notre pays.”

    [2] Especially Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Lisbon, and Madrid.