Taxi drivers in Spain are hanging at the moment in cities together with Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia to protest at what they see because the exploitative practices of journey-hailing transportation apps Uber and Cabify.
Cab drivers in Barcelona are staging a 24 hour strike and might be taking their distinctive black and yellow automobiles to Madrid to participate in an indication within the centre of the city deliberate for noon, in response to El Pais. A shorter taxi strike additionally happened in Valencia this morning.
It’s the second such anti-Uber demonstration in Spain, and follows the corporate’s restricted re-entry into the market final yr in Madrid, with a model of the Uber service that makes use of solely licensed drivers. Uber has not sought to reintroduce the power to hail a experience from non-skilled drivers out there. Nor does it presently supply its carpooling service, UberPool.
But it seems to be enjoying an extended recreation of attrition out there — targeted on lobbying for regulatory change in order that it might reintroduce different providers in future. In the primary occasion Uber is looking for to get a cap eliminated on the variety of licenses for personal rent automobiles — presently set at one per 30 taxis — to allow extra Ubers to function. Hence taxi drivers being indignant.
Anger has additionally apparently been directed at Uber rival Cabify, which has claimed it’s been the goal of varied acts of aggression out there — together with having 9 of its automobiles set on hearth in Sevilla earlier this month.
In a weblog publish on its Spanish website yesterday Uber argued that eliminating the cap on the VTC licenses essential to lease a car with a driver would “reduce urban transport prices, create thousands of jobs and favor more sustainable cities”. Earlier this month it additionally revealed a report it commissioned which claims there can be “significant economic and environmental benefits” flowing from the liberalization of VTC licenses.
The background right here is that in December 2014 a Madrid decide ordered Uber to stop all exercise within the city, following a authorized problem by an area taxi affiliation on unfair competitors grounds. Later that same month Uber suspended the UberPop journey-sharing service after receiving a courtroom injunction — taking a moderately totally different tack vs its earlier combative default, when it had vowed repeatedly to disregard courtroom orders banning its providers in a number of markets.
Instead it’s targeted on complying with native transport laws and solely providing a restricted service the place it may well whereas it tries to foyer for regulatory change.
In Barcelona in 2015 the city authorities changed the law to dam Uber, bringing in massive fines and the power for police to impound infringing automobiles for 3 months — measures which have primarily stored the service off the streets. Although Uber did launch UberEats within the city in 2014, presumably to attempt to hold a pool of drivers ‘warm’ within the hopes of a positive regulatory shift sooner or later.
But it ended up pulling the service later in the same year — saying it needed to focus on working with cities to vary the principles round passenger transportation providers, and — in its phrases — “facilitate a new model in Spain that contributes to the improvement of urban mobility and offers new job opportunities to thousands of people”.
One Barcelona taxi driver we spoke to yesterday who was planning to strike at the moment held no truck with Uber’s claims of socio-financial advantages, denouncing what he described as the corporate’s exploitative labour practices. He additionally claimed Uber is offering unrealistic earnings figures to attempt to lure new drivers onto its platform, and is deliberately retaining costs low now to place strain on taxis to attempt to destroy the service.
“Taxis are a public service,” he added.
In a press release concerning the taxi strike, an Uber spokesperson informed us: “We respect the right of the taxi sector to demonstrate. But it is undeniable that urban mobility is changing very quickly across the world. We want to address a fair transition process with the public administration and taxi sector that promotes a new model of mobility in our cities, but also ensures that no one is left behind.”
La Vanguardia reviews that the Spanish Taxi Federation has referred to as for the creation of a publicly run digital platform to permit clients to e-book a taxi anyplace in Spain — to enhance “the quality and competitiveness” of the service and to focus it on tourism as a strategic sector.
It additionally needs public-personal funding to assist drivers depart the career and retrain. The group intends to current their concepts in a doc they may hand to Congress at this time, following the march in Madrid.
Two extra strikes are deliberate by Spain’s taxi drivers for July, based on Euro Weekly. A Barcelona taxi affiliation spokesperson informed it the group has not dominated out an indefinite strike.