An Uber cab picks up passengers a Malaga train station. / francis silva

New rules for ride-hailing companies in Andalucía: no waiting outside stations and hotels, tests for drivers and fare controls

The regional government says the regulations have been designed to enable companies such as Uber, Cabify and Bolt to operate while also protecting the taxi sector, but neither is happy

FRANCISCO JIMÉNEZ Malaga

The Junta de Andalucía has approved new regulations that will enable ride-hailing companies such as Uber, Cabify and Bolt to continue operating within towns and cities from 1 October. If it had not done so, the vehicles would only have been able to transport passengers between towns and not within the same municipality.

The regulations restrict the ride-hailing firms in order to protect the taxi sector, which sees them as unfair competition. The drivers will not be able to pick up passengers from busy areas such as airports, railway stations, bus stations, hotels and shopping centres unless pre-booked and clients will no longer be able to use the geo-location system to see where a vehicle is before booking it.

Unless they have a booking, drivers will not be allowed to park or travel within 300 metres of airports and stations or 150 metres from the doors of hospitals, hotels with at least four stars and more than 100 beds, court buildings or anywhere that large events are taking place. Clients will, however, be able to book a pick-up from these areas.

In Malaga, this rule will apply to La Rosaleda stadium, the Martín Carpena sports complex and the congress centre, all the major shopping centres and about 100 hotels. It also covers the four hospitals and two specialist medical centres, the court complex and the Andalusian High Court of Justice.

Fares to be controlled

The plan is for the fares charged by ride-hailing companies to also be controlled to stop them increasing dramatically at times of high demand such as during fairs, concerts or, like last weekend, if the taxis are on strike.

Drivers of these vehicles will also have to pass an aptitude test, as taxi drivers do, before being permitted to work, and the cars must be less than ten years old and must be black so they can be distinguished from taxis. They will also have to be a certain size.

The Junta de Andalucía believes these new regulations are the fairest way of enabling the ride-hailing and taxi sectors to coexist with no problems, but the companies believe the new rules are too restrictive while the taxi sector, on the other hand, is convinced they do not go far enough.