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Spain tells angry taxi drivers to 'adapt' to Uber

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Luís de Guindos said that other sectors, including the media, had adapted to new technology and that taxi drivers would have to do the same. Photo: Wikipedia.
11:45 CEST+02:00
Luís de Guindos, Spain's Economy Minister, has told taxi drivers who are striking and petitioning the government over taxi alternatives like the 'Uber smartphone app that they will have to "adapt" to changing technology.

Taxi drivers who are concerned about the threat to their livelihoods posed by the Uber app, which links passengers to drivers of private vehicles, have been told that they will have to compete with new technologies.

Speaking at a conference called 'The Europe Which Leaves The Crisis' held at the Santander campus of the Menéndez Pelayo International University, Economy Minister Luís de Guindos said, "Competition is very important."

He added that the government planned to ensure that such competition was fair in terms of, for example, taxation rates, according to Spanish daily 20 Minutos.

He was then asked if the high cost of taxi licences could distort free and fair competition but Guindos replied that it was "a separate matter."

"Taxis are a regulated sector, and as such have a series of conditions," he said.

The government asked the EU to intervene last week in the dispute between taxi drivers and Uber but Brussels refused to clarify the rules, saying that it was a matter for member states to handle individually.

A taxi drivers' strike over the issue last Wednesday left cities across Europe in chaos, including Madrid and Barcelona.

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The autonomous region of Catalonia in Spain announced plans last week to fine drivers using Uber as much as €6,000 ($8,000), prompting the app-makers to tell The Local that they wanted "open dialogue" with the Catalan government over the issue.

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