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Taxi strike called off after internal vote

Future of ridesharing companies in Barcelona uncertain after new regulation

 

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24 January 2019 10:34 AM

by

ACN | Barcelona

The taxi strike in Barcelona has ended after drivers decided in a mass vote to accept a proposal from the Catalan government for regulating ridesharing companies like Uber and Cabify.

The decision puts an end to a six-day-long protest that left one of the city’s main avenues blockaded, and which saw taxi drivers clashing with police and vandalizing ridesharing vehicles.

The results (2,508 in favor to 2,177 against) were announced in the small hours of Thursday, following a day of tense mass meetings.

  • "If they don't deliver on their promises, we'll take to the streets again"

    Alberto 'Tito' Álvarez · Elite Taxi spokesperson

The spokesperson for the main taxi union in the Barcelona area said that drivers had offered a "ceasefire" to the Catalan government, but warned that "if they don't deliver on their promises, we'll take to the streets again."

The future of ridesharing firms is now uncertain, as some hinted at the possibility of leaving Barcelona if the Catalan authorities passes the proposed bill.

The new regulation would effectively set a minimum booking time  of one hour in advance for ridesharing services in Barcelona, which Uber and Cabify deem excessive.

The previous proposal—a minimum of 15 minutes—was seen as insufficient by taxi drivers, and the very reason why they went on strike in the first place.

Taxi drivers have threatened to resume their protests if the Catalan government does not deliver on its promises, and could boycott the Mobile World Congress—one of the most important international fairs held annually in the Barcelona area, attracting thousands of visitors from all around the world.

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  • Some taxi drivers counting the ballots after their internal vote on Thursday early morning (by Miquel Codolar)

  • Some taxi drivers counting the ballots after their internal vote on Thursday early morning (by Miquel Codolar)

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