Uber forced to pull out of Barcelona
Both Uber and Cabify, the app based transport services, are suspending all operations in Barcelona as from Friday due to a rule imposed by the Catalan government ordering rides to delay 15 minutes after being booked.
Local taxi drivers have won after strikes demanding controls to regulate the spread of the popular and cheaper alternative transport option.
An Uber spokesman said the company hoped to work with the regional government to sort out some fair regulation, but operations will be shut down as the new restrictions, “leave us with no choice but to suspend UberX while we assess our future in Barcelona.”
Cabify soon followed Uber’s withdrawal, blaming the regional government for caving in to the taxi drivers and reducing customer choice.
In Madrid, taxi drivers have been on strike for 12 days in an attempt to have legislation put in place to rid them of what they see as unfair competition.
Whether the Council in Lisbon is empowered to make similar moves remains to be seen but Portugal’s taxi driver union will be looking at legal options to effect the same result that has seen the tactical withdrawal from Barcelona.
Uber’s management spends much of its time fighting court actions so, in Spain, the company inevitably will challlenge the Catalan government’s decision which seems designed solely to make it imossible for the company to continue to run its popular business.