Court rulings see Costa head towards as many private-hire cars as taxis

File photo of future VTC cars stored in Malaga.
File photo of future VTC cars stored in Malaga. / FRANCIS SILVA
  • There are now 2.5 VTCs for every taxi in Malaga province, the highest ratio in Spain and more Uber-style cars are starting all the time

A contradiction in the granting of licences to private hire vehicles, including app-based services like Uber and Cabify, means that Malaga province and the Costa del Sol is fast reaching a point where there are as many of these types of cars on the roads as taxis.

On one hand, the national government is taking steps to delegate the regulation of Uber-style services (known as VTCs) to regional governments, in response to taxis' complaints that there is unfair competition compared to their locally- regulated services. Taxis also want the national rule of one VTC to every 30 taxis to be enforced.

On the other hand, a slow but constant stream of legal rulings finding in favour of VTCs is pushing up the number of these licences. While the Spanish average is one VTC for every 6.4 taxis, in Malaga province the figure is at 1 VTC for every 2.5 taxis, the highest of any province.

Between 2009 and 2015 there was no regulation of VTCs but local authorities still refused many licences during that period. Now courts are slowly finding in favour of the rejected VTCs and pushing up the number of Uber and Cabify cars, especially in the Malaga area.