Cabify criticizes Barcelona's lack of taxis and ride-hailing services

Taxi sector confronts ridesharing app protest and threatens future demonstrations

200 suitcases as part of the Cabify protest at the entrance of Barcelona's Sants station
200 suitcases as part of the Cabify protest at the entrance of Barcelona's Sants station / Lluís Sibils
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

May 22, 2024 06:58 PM

May 22, 2024 07:07 PM

Ridesharing platform Cabify displayed 200 suitcases at the entrance of Barcelona's Sants train station on Wednesday to protest the city's "mobility problems." 

According to the company, travelers arriving at the station by high-speed train have difficulty finding transportation due to a "lack of taxis and ride-hailing services (VTC)." 

Javier Dorado, Cabify's public affairs director, said that Barcelona has become the "most hostile and restrictive" city for the development of the VTC sector, noting that the platform itself has "many operational problems." 

"We are an ally in making Barcelona a more sustainable city in terms of mobility, improving air quality and ultimately allowing citizens to do without private vehicles," he said. 

The suitcases read: "Arriving by high-speed train and having to wait outside Sants station"
The suitcases read: "Arriving by high-speed train and having to wait outside Sants station" / Lluís Sibils

Cabify argues that there are fewer taxi licenses in Barcelona today than in 1979, with about 10,500 compared to the previous 11,000. 

The company denounced the "restrictions" imposed by the Catalan government and the city council and warned that demand will increase from May with the arrival of summer, concerts and sporting events expected in the coming months. 

"We ask the authorities to solve the mobility problem to provide Barcelona with the sustainable and shared mobility service it deserves," Dorado said. 

Taxi sector confronts Cabify protest 

Representatives of the taxi sector also turned up at Sants station to challenge Cabify's protest.  

The spokesperson for the Élite Taxi union, Tito Álvarez, warned that the platform is "constantly challenging the taxi, the Barcelona city council and the Catalan government."

"I do not understand how a company can continuously break the law," he said.  

Álvarez warned that in the coming hours the sector will decide whether to return to the streets to mobilize to denounce the delay in the approval of the so-called taxi law.  

The taxi union spokesperson recalled that last January they already called off a protest at the world's largest audiovisual fair, Integrated Systems Europe (ISE), because of the Catalan government's commitment to approve a decree to regulate the sector.  

"We are tired of waiting," said Álvarez, adding that the taxi sector has shown "a lot of patience."

The Élite Taxi leader criticized the model of ridesharing platforms for operating illegally, accusing them of not complying with insurance, labor and tax regulations.