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TAXI

Taxi drivers call off strike in Barcelona

Barcelona taxi drivers called off a six-day strike Thursday after the regional government unveiled regulations to restrict ride-hailing services like Uber.

Taxi drivers call off strike in Barcelona
Photo: AFP

The strike was called off following a tight vote by members of the Elite taxi union, it said on Twitter.

In the vote carried out late Wednesday in Barcelona's Plaza Catalunya, 2,508 taxi drivers voted in favour of ending the strike and 2,177 were opposed.   

Spanish taxi drivers complain that rivals from ride-hailing apps work like taxis despite not being classed as such in law, competing unfairly since they do not face the same regulations and costs.

The new Catalan government regulations will oblige customers of Uber or its main Spanish rival, Cabify, to book services 15 minutes in advance.   

That means customers will have to wait at least that long before they can get a ride rather than having a vehicle arrive almost immediately.   

But after taxi drivers said the measure did not go far enough, the regional government said Tuesday that it would allow local authorities in Catalonia — if they deemed it necessary — to lengthen the pre-booking time to a maximum of one hour.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau told reporters that a one-hour delay would be applied there.

The new regulations also ban geo-localisation for ride-hailing services, which means users will no longer be able to find the car nearest to them on their app.   

On Wednesday, Uber threatened to withdraw from Barcelona if the new restrictions were implemented.

Barcelona taxi drivers began their strike on January 18, while Madrid taxi drivers launched an open ended strike over the same issue on Monday.   

In recent days, some taxi protests have turned violent, with dozens of vehicles operated by Uber and Cabify vandalised in both cities.

READ ALSO: Striking Madrid taxi drivers up pressure by blocking access to global tourism fair

CHRISTMAS

Rail strike: 271 trains cancelled across Spain on Friday

Just in time for the big Christmas exodus, Spanish rail operator Renfe has announced the cancellations for Friday 20 December when workers are downing tools in an ongoing battle over workers’ rights.

Rail strike: 271 trains cancelled across Spain on Friday

A total of 271 services have been cut on a day when many travellers will be heading away at the start of the Christmas holidays.

The cancellations include 39 high speed AVE or long distance services and 232 medium distance trains during ta 23-hour stoppage called by the CGT union between midnight and 11pm.

Compulsory minimum services were set by the Transport Ministry at 90 percent for AVE and long distance, 63 percent on medium distance.

The ministry said some 28,231 passengers would see their journeys disrupted.

Renfe is offering full refunds or to change tickets for other available routes at no extra cost, however routes are expected to be busy as people escape for the holidays.

Cercanías trains, which serve commuters coming into the cities, will also be affected and will be running at minimum services of 75 percent during peak times in Madrid and at 50 percent during the rest of the day.

Other cities will see a minimum service of 65 percent during rush hour and 46 percent during the rest of the day.

For a full list of services during the strike check the announcement by Spain's Ministry of Transport CLICK HERE

READ ALSO: Introducing Avlo: Spain's new low-cost, high-speed (bright purple) rail service

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