SHARE
COPY LINK

TAXIS

Madrid taxis join Barcelona strike against ‘unfair’ Uber and Cabify

Taxi drivers in Madrid went on strike Saturday in solidarity with Barcelona cabbies protesting against "unfair competition" from Uber and Cabify.

Madrid taxis join Barcelona strike against 'unfair' Uber and Cabify
Madrid and Barcelona taxi drivers also went on strike last year. Photo: AFP

The federation of Madrid taxis claimed all 15,000 drivers in the capital had joined the movement and that it would spread to other cities.

“All taxis have spontaneously and progressively stopped work, paralysing services in the capital, at the airport, around bus and railway stations”, federation secretary Santiago Simon Vicente told AFP.

“The main problem is the proliferation of VTC licences,” he said.

“There are more and more of them, thousands, and it's unfair competition.”

The federation called on the authorities to enforce legislation under which there should be 30 traditional taxis for every VTC (tourism vehicle with chauffeur).

Today there are only five for every VTC, said Santiago Simon Vicente.

Taxi drivers cut access to central Barcelona on Friday after the Spanish government appealed a ruling approved by Barcelona authorities that limited the number of licences for Uber-style services.

“Today everything is blocked in Barcelona, the airport, the stations, etc,” the head of Taxis Companys, Luis Lopez, told AFP.

Violence erupted in Barcelona where the strike began on Wednesday.

Drivers threw stones at the vehicles of Uber-style licensed private chauffeurs, with some ending up with flat tyres.

The attacks prompted Uber and Cabify to suspend their services in Barcelona for as long as the taxi strike lasts.

Unauto, which represents Uber and Cabify, on Saturday urged the Spanish government to “take back control of the streets saying “violent” taxi drivers were trying to defend a monopoly.

Taxi drivers blocked the Gran Via in Barcelona on July 27, 2018 during a strike. Taxi drivers in Madrid joined the action on July 28 protesting at “unfair competition” from Uber and Cabify

BARCELONA

Barcelona taxi drivers prepare legal battle against Uber and Cabify

A Barcelona-based association of taxi drivers on Thursday announced it would lodge a legal complaint against ride-hailing services Uber and Cabify for fraud and other offences.

Barcelona taxi drivers prepare legal battle against Uber and Cabify
Photo: AFP

In all the Elite Taxi group, which represents 2,000 drivers, will take on 11 firms and 15 individuals, as well as US-based Uber and Spanish company Cabify, according to Alberto Alvarez, spokesman for the association.   

The legal complaint, to be lodged in Madrid next week, is just the latest attempt by registered taxi drivers in several countries to stop potential customers using the new, less regulated, services which they believe provide unfair competition.

The accusations will include fraud but also money-laundering, tax infringements and flouting workers' rights.   

Rideshare companies maintain that drivers are able to thrive and maintain work flexibility, and that their business model would not work if drivers were treated as wage-based employees.

In late 2017, the Elite Taxi association obtained a judicial victory when the European Court of Justice ruled that Uber is an ordinary transportation company instead of just an online app and should be regulated as such.   

Last year Spanish taxi drivers went on strike for several days, calling in the authorities to restrain the activities of the ride-hailing operators.   

In several Spanish cities, including  Valencia and Barcelona, new rules have been adopted including requiring customers of ride-hailing services to book a ride at least 15 minutes in advance.

READ MORE: Uber and Cabify suspend services in Barcelona in row over new regulations

SHOW COMMENTS