Uber files EU complaint over Spain ban

The company behind the global drive-sharing app has filed a complaint on Monday with the European Commission over its ban from operating in Spain.

Uber files EU complaint over Spain ban
A man using the Uber app in front of the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona. Photo Quique Garcia/AFP

Uber, the US-based car-ride service, is fighting back after being banned from operating in Spain in December 2014.

The company stated in its complaint with the European Commission that the Spanish ruling to ban Uber was "protecting the monopoly of the taxi", according to Spanish daily El País.

The popular car-sharing app was prohibited from operating in Spain after a lawsuit was filed by a Madrid taxi association, which accused the company of unfair competition.

San Francisco-founded Uber allows users to send out a ride request and then be picked up by crowd-sourced drivers.

Uber originally defied the court’s ruling and continued to operate in Spain, but was finally forced to close after telecommunications companies and payment companies cut off their services to the app.

"We operate in 20 of the 28 countries in the EU and Spain has taken the regulation to extremes," Mark MacGann, the director of Uber’s legal department, told El País.

MacGann is trying to convince the EU Commission that the ban is disproportionate and is against EU regulations.

One of Uber’s main arguments is that the company does not transport passengers, but is merely the technological intermediary "that offers a social service, a connection service for people who want to share their cars".

In reality, though, Uber’s service is more taxi service than car-share: users tell the driver where they want to go and pay a fixed tariff, 20 percent of which goes to Uber as commission.

Uber has also filed complaints with the EU about France and Germany.

The EU has not yet decided whether to class Uber as a technology or a transport company.

The Spanish ban is not the first to befall Uber in Europe. Germany banned the app – twice – while French police recently raided the offices of Uber in Paris as part of an investigation into its ride-share service.


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Malaga to trial Spain’s first self-driving bus

Spain’s first self-driving bus will begin to take public passengers from this Saturday, February 20th.

Malaga to trial Spain's first self-driving bus
Image: Largeroliker / WikiCommons

Created as part of the AutoMOST R + D + I project in participation with Avanza bus company and Malaga City Council, the 12-metre electric bus features autonomous driving technology and will be a revolutionary addition to the transport system.

The mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, companied by the president of the Port of Malaga Authority, Carlos Rubio, and the general director of Avanza, Valentin Alonso were the first to ride in this driverless bus.

Mayor de la Torre said “Malaga has been a pioneer in creating ways to improve life in the city”. “We were also the first city to implement contactless cards on buses,” he added.

The self-driving bus is the first of its kind to circulate in real traffic and will be in operation on line 90 from the Maritime Station in the port area to the Paseo del Parque in the front of the City Hall.

Malaga will become the first European city to implement this new autonomous driving technology in a bus, which is also environmentally friendly, run fully on electricity and which produces zero emissions.

The city council said in a statement that this move reinforces Malaga’s commitment to sustainable mobility and the use of new technologies adapted to transport.

In previous projects, self-driving tests have only been carried out using smaller vehicles, not the standard 12-metre buses that are in daily circulation around the city.

12-metre buses are the world standard, so in theory it will be possible to implement this same type of technology in other models of the same size around the world.

In order for the technology to work, Malaga City Council has invested 180,000 euros in smart traffic lights, which communicate with the bus telling it when to go and stop.

Initially the self-driving bus will run for three weeks, but the traffic lights will remain in place, allowing for the implementation of other self-driving systems in the future, such as driverless cars.

For the next three weeks, residents can ride the self-driving bus completely free of charge. It will operate from Saturday February 20th to March 13th, from Tuesdays to Saturdays 9:30am to 2:30pm.

You can book a ticket on the bus in advance by visiting