Uber and Cabify suspend services over new sector regulation

Ridesharing firms describe rules as "incompatible" with users' needs, while Grup Vector to lay off a thousand employees

Ridesharing driver (by Aina Martí)
Ridesharing driver (by Aina Martí) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 31, 2019 12:55 PM

Ridesharing companies Uber and Cabify announced on Thursday that they are suspending their services from Friday, when new regulations for the sector come into effect.

In a statement, Uber said it was suspending its services in Barcelona and called for regulations to "take into account the thousands of drivers and users of ridesharing services."

Cabify released a similar statement, saying it would stop operating in Catalonia from Friday, arguing that the new rules contain "artificial and highly restrictive measures."

The new regulations say that firms like Uber must wait 15 minutes between rides -Barcelona metro area might extend it to an hour-, which Uber said is "totally incompatible" with the "immediacy of demand for its services."

Cabify was also highly critical of the new rules, pointing out that 98.5% of the rides it manages through its application are below the quarter of an hour limit.

Uber, which only returned to the Catalan capital a year ago, also pointed out that the new restrictions on its services "do not exist anywhere in Europe."

Concessions to striking taxi drivers

The regulation was at the center of a recent strike by Barcelona's taxi drivers, who agreed to go back to work after the government made concessions over the 15-minute interval.