Spanish taxi drivers hold massive strike against Uber and Cabify

© AP Photo / Eric Risberg office of the company Uber. Archival photoSpanish taxi drivers hold massive strike against Uber and Cabify© AP Photo / Eric Risberg

Spanish taxi drivers on Tuesday will hold a massive strike against services Uber and Cabify, in Madrid, held a rally where they will demand from the authorities to prevent «unfair competition» in the market of passenger transportation.

Madrid taxi drivers are not expected to work from 06.00 local time (07.00 MSK) to 18.00 (19.00). Barcelona announced 24-hour strike. The difference between this action and previous is that in addition to the Spanish capital and Barcelona it will be held in other Spanish cities.

The reason for the protest of taxi drivers called «unfair competition» from the passenger transportation companies Uber and Cabify. The fact that the cost of the license of the driver of the taxi costs 120 to 170 thousand euros. To get it, drivers often have to take out a loan. The drivers Uder and Cabify have another type of license — a car with a driver who you can hire (VTC). Such a license costs much cheaper. In some cases, its cost was 32 Euro.

In Madrid, the only Spanish city where the permitted activities of Uber, held a March under the slogan «Against the destruction of public sector taxi». The head of the column will go 25 taxi, the drivers will go on foot. According to the organizers of various associations of taxi drivers, from the square in front of the station Atocha to the Plaza of Neptune, located near the Congress of deputies, will be about 5 thousand taxi drivers, who come from all over Spain. Directly in front of the lower house of Parliament banned the rallies, however, the representatives of the Ministry of development, as well as opposition parties — the Spanish socialist workers ‘ party and Podemos promise that he will meet with taxi drivers and listen to their claims.

Taxi drivers demand from the Ministry of development to prevent the change of existing legislation in the field of passenger transportation: 30 official taxis by law must have only one machine with the license VTC. Earlier minesuite assured that changes in legislation will not. However, the reality is more complicated. According to estimates of the associations of taxi drivers in Madrid four times exceeded the quota of cars Uber and Cabify.

According to the head of the Confederation of private taxi drivers Spain (CTAE) Julio Sanz, «there is discrimination in the issuance of licenses VTC», the number of licenses issued exceeds the statutory norm.

The President of the Professional Association of taxis of Madrid, who also heads the Spanish Federation of associations of taxi drivers Fedetaxi, Miguel angel Leal says: it is unacceptable that «politics left at the mercy of the courts and transnational corporations, the mobility system in Spain». According to estimates of the Federation, the alternatives of passenger transport can leave the unemployed to 100 of thousands of taxi drivers across Spain. Taxi drivers repeatedly complained to the courts, one of the lawsuits reached the Court of the European Union, another is pending before the Supreme court of Spain.

Uber said in response that the increased presence of the service in Madrid and the company’s return to Barcelona is beneficial – not only to passengers (trip on average costs five euros cheaper than a taxi), but also carriers. According to estimates, 63 create thousands of additional jobs in the two cities. Founder and CEO of Cabify Juan de Antonio says that the company does not aim to «compete with taxi drivers» because it «provides different kind of services, but the market will be enough for everyone».

Spanish taxi drivers conducted a strike against Uber and Cabify regularly. Mass action took place in mid-March in Madrid and Barcelona. The reason was another attempt by Uber to return to the Catalan capital, the company management demanded from local authorities to increase the number of licenses issued. Another similar protest was held on April 26.

It often happens that taxi drivers stand up for their rights are not legitimate methods: in early may, unknown burned the car Cabify in Seville, where was held the main event of the year — the April fair. Online service decided to increase the number of its cars in the capital of Andalusia due to the influx of tourists and sent additional 24 cars. In the municipality of Castilblanco de Los Arroyos, where drivers stopped for a rest, was burned nine cars. For the last time in connection with protests against Uber and Cabify was initiated 40 cases, arrested and under investigation for about 30 taxi drivers.

Uber is not too popular service in Spain. After its inception in 2014, first in Barcelona and then in Madrid, the company was roundly criticized, and taxi drivers staged protests and appealed to the courts. In the court’s judgment, the service UberPop (provision of vehicles with drivers who did not have official licenses to carry passengers) have been banned. The company returned to Madrid in March last year with the new service — UberX (the drivers have a license VTC). However, in the Spanish capital of Uber cars is small compared with other cities where the company operates, and a large waiting time. In Barcelona, the work of the service has not been restored so far, due to the limited number of licenses for passenger transportation that can give power.

Uber — service transport that allow to book a private taxi through the website and via app on iPhone or Android devices. The service uses software that directs the driver to the nearest location of the client. The company Uber was established in 2009, its headquarters is located in San Francisco. Uber operates in 86 cities of Europe and the 523 cities around the world.

The main competitor of Uber in Spain, Cabify. This system works in Spain, Portugal and Latin America.


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