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Uber to land on the Costa before the summer with at least 200 vehicles

A so-called VTC in the pick-up bay next to taxis at Malaga train station.
A so-called VTC in the pick-up bay next to taxis at Malaga train station. / Francis Silva
  • The ridesharing platform is about to launch in Malaga, Marbella, Fuengirola, Mijas, Torremolinos and Benalmádena

The transport sector in Malaga will welcome a new operator this summer. The digital ridesharing platform Uber, which now boasts a presence in 600 cities around the world, is finalising its arrival on the Costa del Sol which will see the initial introduction of around 200 vehicles.

After first arriving in Madrid in 2016, and then Barcelona last year, the company has its sights set on Malaga, despite it being the province with the highest ratio of VTCs (vehicles with a driver) compared to taxis (one to every 4.4).

Although the launch date has not been officially set, it is expected that Uber will start offering its services in Malaga and Marbella (and the towns in between) before the start of the high season.

“Initially we are going to set up in Malaga, Torremolinos, Benalmádena, Fuengirola, Mijas and Marbella but we hope to continue growing as new licences are granted,” said the general director of Uber in Spain, Juan Galiardo, who added that the Costa del Sol was chosen because of its huge “tourist potential”.

This is backed up by the numbers. Some 150,000 people of 138 different nationalities, according to Uber studies, tried to order a ride in Malaga through the app last summer. “These figures make us very optimistic because it shows that people from other countries who visit the Costa are demanding our services,” said Galiardo.

The next phase is for the company to make contact with the town halls where it will be operative and try to reach agreements with the largest number possible of licence holders, with 200 the benchmark.

However, unlike principal competitors in Spain, Cabify, Uber will only contract drivers with licences for Andalucía, which they hope will avoid disputes with taxi drivers, who went on strike after VTCs from other parts of Spain came to the province to take advantage of peak times, namely during Malaga Fair, without prebooking.