Private hire vehicle drivers call for three days of protests in Barcelona in February

Traditional VTCs claim over 600 licenses have been rejected this year

Private hire vehicles take part in a demonstration in January 2023
Private hire vehicles take part in a demonstration in January 2023 / Miquel Vera
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

January 27, 2023 11:42 AM

Traditional private hire vehicles sector (VTC in Catalan) have called for three days of demonstrations and slow drives in Barcelona from February 6-8. The marches will leave from Plaça Espanya square to criticize the "administrative mistakes" made by authorities.

The Catalan automobile association (Associació Gran Turisme de Catalunya) claims over 600 licenses have been rejected since the start of this year. The group believes this is a mistake from the Catalan transport department after overselling the number of licenses allowed "to survive during the pandemic."

Traditional private hire vehicles are different to both traditional taxi drivers as well as modern ride-hailing apps such as Cabify, Uber, and Free Now.

"We are self-employed drivers and small- and medium-sized companies that need to survive after making large investments," a statement shared by the group reads. The text also adds that they have not received any official answer to their meeting requests.

This is not the first time private hire vehicles have organized a slow drive, as last week they drove from Barcelona airport to the headquarters of the Catalan government transport directorate general.

They, alongside taxi drivers, rallied against the new VTC legislation that limits the number of private hire vehicles operating in the city, establishes a 4.9-meter minimum vehicle length, and requires them to have either ECO or 0 low emissions badges and insurance equivalent to taxis. Measures such as waiting 15 minutes for a car to arrive after hailing it on an app are also still in force.

Traditional VTCs called on the new demonstration on Thursday afternoon, a day after taxi drivers blocked Gran Via, one of Barcelona's busiest roads, for four hours. Taxis voiced their anger against ride-hailing services such as Uber and Bolt.