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Madrid taxi drivers strike to protest Uber app

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Madrid taxi drivers strike to protest Uber app
Taxi drivers in the Spanish capital have lobbied vigorously against the app which they claim offers unfair competition. Photo: Dominique Faget/AFP
09:45 CEST+02:00
Many of Madrid's taxi drivers will go on strike on Tuesday between 11am and 1pm on Tuesday in protest against the controversial app-based chauffeur service Uber.

The strike has been called by the Professional Taxi Federation but is not supported by the Auto Taxi Trade Association.

Those involved will gather in the Spanish capital, in the area between the Atocha roundabout and Cibeles square, according to Spanish daily 20 Minutos.

Madrid's regional government recently announced a crackdown on Uber. 

Drivers using the app run the risk of incurring fines of up to €18,000 ($22,600) if they are found carrying passengers without a taxi licence.

The Ministry of Transport has already opened a case against Uber, giving the company 15 days to respond, after a 'pirate' vehicle using the app was discovered in a traffic inspection on October 3rd.

The smartphone applicatio links passengers with drivers of private vehicles and has caused controversy since it came to Spain earlier this year.

Taxi drivers are unhappy with what they describe as unfair competition from the app, which charges 70 cents ($0.90) per kilometre (0.6 miles) or 30 cents per minute.

They have gone on strike on a number of occasions, protesting that they must pay for taxes, licence and insurance, unlike Uber users.

A spokesperson for Uber in Spain recently told The Local. "We believe that there’s room for everyone, and we’re improving transport options for both passengers and drivers alike."

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