Taxi drivers are angry about the competition from ride-hailing companies. / E.P.

Violent protests as taxi drivers are angered by plans to regulate the ride-hailing sector in Andalucía

The Junta said the regulations aim to provide a legal framework so that both forms of transport can coexist to provide the best service to the public

EUROPA PRESS Seville

Angry taxi drivers held a protest outside the Andalusian parliament building in Seville on Thursday, about new regulations being drawn up by the regional government so that ride-hailing companies can continue to operate within towns and cities from 1 October.

Nearly 1,000 people took part in the protest, which became violent and ended with two protestors being arrested. Eggs and bottles were thrown, the crowds hurled insults and jeered and the police responded by charging the protestors.

A statement from the National Police said several protestors had tried to break down fences and had thrown eggs at the parliament building, which is why one was arrested for public disorder and the other for an assault against authority.

"They will just do what they like"

The taxi drivers are angry because they see the ride-hailing companies as a threat, and they were concerned about the proposed content of the new regulations, which they had learned about on Monday.

The regional government says it wants taxis and ride-hailing companies to coexist in order to offer the best service to the public, something which has angered the taxi sector.

The measure has also been rejected by the Union of Andalusian Taxi Associations (UATA), whose spokesman, Pepe Hoyos, insisted that it will do no good whatsoever.

“The ride-hailing companies will just do what they like, they are going to ignore all regulations and laws,” he said, and he accused the Junta of “betraying” the taxi sector.

Talks are continuing

After the protest, the Junta de Andalucía’s Minister for Public Works, Marifrán Carazo, stressed that the talks about the new regulations are still going on, and that the regional government would seek “dialogue and participation”.

The measure is to provide legal certainty, she said, “not to jeopardise the service provided by taxis”.

“We are continuing to negotiate and we are talking because we want to approve this regulation and to do so on the basis of dialogue and participation,” Carazo said. The talks, which began a week ago, “have not yet finished and they have to be progressed,” she insisted.