Court blocks Barcelona 60-minute wait law on Uber and Cabify

Regulation initially set after numerous protests from city’s taxi drivers

Image from a taxi strike earlier this year. (Photo: Mar Vila)
Image from a taxi strike earlier this year. (Photo: Mar Vila) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

July 10, 2019 07:13 PM

The High Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) has suspended regulatory conditions of a 60 minute waiting period set by the metropolitan area of Barcelona on ridesharing companies such as Uber and Cabify.

According to the regulations set by the Catalan government, instead of being able to book cabs instantaneously, customers would have to book at least 15 minutes in advance. However, city and town councils were given the opportunity to set this minimum waiting time higher, and the Barcelona metropolitan area opted to place a 60 minute waiting period on ridesharing cabs. 

The lifting of the regulation now opens the door to Uber and Cabify potentially returning to near-normal operation in Barcelona once again, although they have been critical of the 15 minute waiting period in the past, which will remain in effect.

A representative from Uber described the regulation as “totally incompatible" with the "immediacy of demand for [Uber’s] services."

The regulations were set after weeks of tension between taxi drivers in Barcelona, with multiple protests called, blocking the city’s major streets amid threats of indefinite strikes. Taxi drivers in the city had also protested the previous July, blocking access to the port and airport.

After the regulations were set, Uber and Cabify both suspended their operation in the city. Cabify then returned in March of this year, but with a smaller fleet of just 300 vehicles.