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Freeing up Barcelona’s taxi sector could have €90m impact, says Free Now study

Report by Europe's largest e-hailing company suggests more flexibility would also have positive environmental impact

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10 October 2019 11:51 AM

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ACN | Barcelona

Liberalizing the taxi sector in Barcelona in order to make it more flexible would have an economic impact of €91.1 million, according to a study from mobility provider and the largest e-hailing company in Europe, Free Now. 

'Prospects for the future of urban mobility in Spain' was carried out in tandem with the PwC consultancy firm to identify aspects to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of mobility in Barcelona and Madrid.

In Barcelona's case, the study concludes that reviewing the restrictions on the number of licences granted and the partial easing of prices are the main measures that could have an impact worth 57.3 million euros.

  • "It's necessary to make taxi regulation more flexible in order to meet the challenges of the sector, improve its competitiveness, make it more sustainable, and better face future urban mobility in cities"

    Jaime Rodríguez · Free Now general director

Promoting taxi sharing would save another 28.3 million euros, according to the study, while removing geographical limitations would amount to another 2.7 million euros, and open working hours would account for another 2.8 million euros.

The study also suggests that there would also be an environmental benefit, and estimates that savings in emissions would come to 13,175 tonnes of CO2 and 19 tonnes of NOx. In Spain as a whole, emission savings would amount to 33,052 tonnes of CO2 and 47 of NOx.

"Taxi regulation needs to be more flexible"

Free Now's general director, Jaime Rodríguez, said the study shows "it's necessary to make taxi regulation more flexible in order to meet the challenges of the sector, improve its competitiveness, make it more sustainable, and better face future urban mobility in cities." 

Rodríguez added that many of the restrictions aimed at protecting the current taxi sector "are no longer effective and hinder competitiveness," and he added that it is time for the authorities to "take steps forward in this liberalization."

The study also identifies technology as a key factor in the mobility sector, with Rodríguez pointing out that technology "can improve competitiveness and sustainability," while also avoiding the main market failures "that have justified many current restrictions."

Intermediary platforms lead to a 40% reduction in waiting time for users, says the study, which translates to 2.6 million euros in Barcelona's case, and would be "significantly higher" if penetration of these platforms was similar to that in more digitized countries.

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  • Man takes a taxi after attending the Mobile World Congress (by Mar Vila)

  • Man takes a taxi after attending the Mobile World Congress (by Mar Vila)