Taxis call off strike in Barcelona

Cabs warn of "furious comeback" if Spain fails to fulfill promises

A taxi in Barcelona (by Àlex Recolons)
A taxi in Barcelona (by Àlex Recolons) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

August 2, 2018 09:19 AM

The taxis of the Barcelona metropolitan area called off a strike to demand regulation against car-hailing services on Wednesday night, thus putting an end to an 8-day-long protest that left the city center collapsed.

The Spanish government agreed to transfer powers on licenses for services such as Uber and Cabify to the autonomous communities willing to assume them—for instance, Catalonia. Madrid also accepted protecting taxis' urban licenses.

"This is exactly what we were asking for," said Alberto 'Tito' Álvarez, the spokesperson for the association Elite Taxi and leader of the protests. Yet, he warned that should Spain not deliver on its promises next September, they will take to the streets again "with more fury."


The sector has apologized for any “collateral damage” caused by the strike and the mobilization of drivers that all but shut down two major roads in the heart of the capital.

“We apologize to city merchants and small businessmen who have been affected,” as well as to the public. This is what sector spokesman Tito Álvarez said at a press conference on Thursday. “We consider ourselves part of this city,” he went on to say, highlighting that the industrial action was because they had no “choice” left.

Return to normality

Traffic is once again flowing as usual through Gran Via, a major thoroughfare of the city, and the Passeig de Gracia, after both main roads were blocked off for days by taxi drivers demonstrating.

At Barcelona airport the return to normality was particularly notable. The strike had been a particular headache for travellers wanting to use taxis to go to and from the facility, as it closed all but one stop of the Aerobus in the city, meaning travellers had to head to Plaça Espanya to take it. Public transport, such as the train or metro, connecting the city to the airport was also busier than usual due to the strike.

From early in the morning at the airport, queues of taxi drivers could be seen waiting to pick up, or coming to drop off, travellers.

There are also less queues for travellers wishing to take the Aerobus. Numbers of people wishing to use the service to travel to and from Barcelona had increased due to the industrial action. 

Once the strike was called off after a sector meeting voted on it, taxis returned to business as usual within a matter of hours.