Will Spain be the next country to ban Uber?
It very well could be, after Spanish taxi drivers continue their taxi strike today against Uber and Cabify, after government negotiations came to an impass yesterday with no deal struck.
The Spanish taxi strike started last week in Barcelona, then quickly spread to various other towns and cities across Spain including Madrid and Valencia.
The strike intensified in Madrid as taxi drivers blocked several major roads with parked taxis, including Madrid’s main thoroughfare the Paseo de la Castellana.
Taxi drivers are angry that Uber and Cabify drivers are being licensed as VTCs (Tourism Vehicles with Chauffeurs).
This allows them to circumnavigate many of the rules and regulations traditional taxi drivers have to adhere to, and enables them to become licensed at a much cheaper rate than traditional taxis.
Under Spanish regulation, there should be 30 taxis for every one VTC. Yet Uber and Cabify are being allowed to get VTC licenses at such a rate there are now only 5 taxis for every VTC.
This is increasing competition for traditional taxis, and causing many taxi drivers to lose fares.
One of the taxi federations currently involved in negotiations with the Spanish government tweeted that the taxi driver strike will continue “until there is a clear statement of intent from the ministry”, so it is very likely the Spanish taxi strike will continue on into the coming weekend.
As for the taxi drivers’ animosity towards Uber and Cabify, those two rideshare companies actually do operate in completely different ways.
Cabify tends to do everything it can to operate legally in each country it currently has a presence in, often modifying its ways of doing business to appease local governments. It also screens drivers much more stringently than Uber, and is a much safer company to use overall.
That is why, if Spanish taxi drivers have any animosity against rideshare companies, they really should be singling out Uber.
After all, Uber operates illegally in many of the countries it is currently in.
It is a company with misogynistic practices, and a misogynistic culture. Its drivers are not properly screened or insured, the company does not correctly report violent crimes perpetrated by its drivers, and there have been several incidences of Uber drivers sexually assaulting their female passengers.
Uber also practices unfair competition against its competitors, and has even been involved in shady business practices such as having Uber staff book a taxi from a local taxi company, and then not showing up when the taxi arrives. Thus costing the taxi driver and the company he works for lost business and a lost fare.
Due to these and many other similar violations, Uber is now banned in Thailand, Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Japan and Taiwan, as well as in the U.S. states of Alaska and Oregon and in Vancouver, Canada.
If Spanish tax drivers continue their strike, and the ministry is forced to negotiate, Uber could very well end up banned in Spain as well.
You can learn more about the legal status of Uber here, and discover which countries the company is still operating in illegally, even though it has been banned due to unfair competition or unsafe practices.
Meanwhile, Spain’s taxi drivers continue to strike against Uber and Cabify.
The Spanish public works ministry has offered to implement a decree in September that it says will enforce the 30-1 VTC license ratio, but the taxi federations representing Spanish taxi drivers have already said that intention is too vague.
They say they expect something more concrete before the taxi strike will be called off.