Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

July 13, 2005

Bus Company Sues Carpoolers

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:50 pm

Something here is seriously run amok:

[A] group of French cleaning ladies who organised a car-sharing scheme to get to work are being taken to court by a coach company which accuses them of “an act of unfair and parasitical competition”.

The women, who live in Moselle and work five days a week at EU offices in Luxembourg, are being taken to court by Transports Schiocchet Excursions, which runs a service along the route. It wants the women to be fined and their cars confiscated.

Two years ago a business tribunal threw out the company’s case. It is now pursuing the women in a higher court … .

“Using our cars is quicker and at least twice as cheap. And on the bus we didn’t have the right to eat or even to speak,” said Martine Bourguignon. Odette Friedmann added: “In the evening instead of coming to get us at 9.30pm the bus would arrive at 10.30pm. If you made any comment to the driver you’d get a mouthful of abuse.”

TSE is also suing the women’s employer, Onet-Luxembourg. “They’ve basically accused us of inciting the car-sharing scheme when we have nothing to do with the method of transport used by our staff,” said director Frédéric Sirerol.

See what happens when you try to be creative in the EU-Zone?

I’ve been told my several Europeans (a couple of Germans, a Breton, and a few Scandanavians) that Europeans place a much higher value on social conformity than Americans (except for the Breton, they consdiered this to be a good thing). But this is ridiculous. You don’t go to work the socially correct way, so you get sued for millions?

(Hat tips: John Chalmers via Eugene Volokh via Clayton Cramer.)

2 Responses to “Bus Company Sues Carpoolers”

  1. ollie Says:

    Excuse my ignorance, but what law did they break? There was a law against carpooling?

  2. Different River Says:

    I don’t know for sure, but it seems from the article that they are being sued by the bus company for depriving the bus company of the income the company would have made had they taken the bus.

    But perhaps I’m projecting — about 10 years ago the U.S. Postal Service was going around suing companies for using Federal Express for “non-urgent” mail and thus depriving the USPS of revenue from its legal monopoly on first-class mail. (The Postal Inspectors would insist that businesses either divulge the content of the packages to prove their urgency, or pay the first-class postage that would have been charged had they used the mail.)

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