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Uber and Cabify pull out of Barcelona due to new legislation

A striking taxi driver hails the blockade of Madrid's Paseo de la Castellana avenue earlier this week.
A striking taxi driver hails the blockade of Madrid's Paseo de la Castellana avenue earlier this week. / EFE
  • The taxi strike continues in Madrid where the regional government has rejected the proposals made by the drivers

Uber and Cabify announced that they were pulling out of Catalonia on Thursday after the authorities agreed to limiting private hire drivers to journeys booked in advance.

A new decree, which states that there has to be a 15-minute time lapse between the reservation and the service, was passed by the regional government, the Generalitat, on Tuesday, as a concession to taxi drivers before they called off their strike last week.

The announcement by Uber and Cabify came the day before the new regulations come into force.

"The obligation to wait 15 minutes before travelling in a VTC [private hire car] doesn't exist anywhere else in Europe and is totally incompatible with the immediacy of the services in demand, like UberX," said the firm on Thursday.

MeanwhileMadrid taxi drivers went into the 11th day of their strike against private hire cars on Thursday. The drivers began their action on 21 January to call for the regional authority to bring in tougher restrictions on the cars that are run by brands such as Uber and Cabify.

Tension

After a tense few days, in which a VTC driver was injured after being shot at with a pellet gun on Sunday, the drivers stated that they were willing to negotiate new regulations with the regional authority. The regional president Ángel Garrido had previously rejected three proposals put forward by the drivers, stating that he would not give in to "blackmail".

Garrido said he wouldn't "legislate to exterminate the VTCs as Catalonia has done".

Meanwhile around 300 taxis, according to the drivers' federation arrived in Madrid from Galicia on Thursday to show their support for their colleagues as their protest continues in the capital.