An attempt by France's government to placate taxi drivers angered by a threat to their monopoly by making users of private cabs wait 15 minutes for their ride, has been thrown out by the country's highest administrative court.
The suspension of the 15-minute rule by the State Council marks an important victory for online taxi booking services in one of the most fiercely fought battles over market reforms in France.
(Read more: France: We're not afailed socialist experiment)
Loic Venance | AFP/Getty Images
François Hollande's administration has allowed the growth of private cab companies but, under furious protest from traditional licensed street cabs, it issued a decree in December forcing those reserving cars online or by phone to wait a minimum of 15 minutes before being picked up.
Licensed-taxi unions, which have bitterly opposed moves to open up the business to more competition, immediately called a demonstration in Paris for Monday to protest against the State Council's decision.
More from the Financial Times:
Cabbies' protest leaves Hollande in a jam
Violent turn against Uber in Paris
Businesses push Hollande on labour costs
The council said the decree was a "serious and immediate blow to the economic interests" of the private competitors and ran counter to "the principle of the freedom of commerce and industry".
Partial liberalization of the taxi market allowing the emergence of private taxi services has led to a surge in companies offering chauffeured cars, mostly via online applications.
In most cases they can supply a car within five minutes, infuriating operators of traditional licensed taxis, which have a monopoly on the right to pick up fares hailed on the street. Taxi unions have demanded an even longer pickup delay for their private competitors.