Uber Suspends Service in Barcelona Following Taxi Driver Protests

Jan 31, 2019

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Rideshare companies such as Uber and Cabify are pulling service from Barcelona after the Catalan government passed new restrictions on wait-times.

Following outrage and a massive strike by Barcelona taxi drivers who were concerned that their businesses were being undermined by the ridesharing services, the city ruled that ridesharing services could only pick up passengers after a 15-minute delay from the time they were booked.

“The obligation to wait 15 minutes to travel in a VTC does not exist anywhere in Europe and is totally incompatible with the immediacy of on-demand services, such as UberX,” said Uber in an email to TPG. A “VTC” is a Vehículos de Turismo con Conductor — or a type of driver (such as Uber and other ridesharing companies) in Spain that are granted special licenses by local authorities.

According to Reuters, Cabify, which has 1 million users in Barcelona, said in a statement it regretted that the city had “given in to the demands of the taxi sector, seriously hurting citizen’s interests.” Cabify also claimed the suspension of rideshare services could risk the loss of 3,000 jobs in Barcelona.

For now, Uber plans on continuing services in other Spanish cities where the 15-minute rule isn’t being implemented. “Our commitment to Spain remains intact,” said Uber. “You can continue traveling with us in Granada, Valencia, Córdoba, Sevilla, Málaga and Madrid. And we hope that soon again in Barcelona.”
Featured image by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.
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