Striking taxi drivers block Barcelona's Gran Via
Protest is against new proposed regulations on ridesharing companies
A number of taxi drivers began blocking Barcelona's Gran Via main road on Friday afternoon to protest new regulations put forward by the government on companies like Uber and Cabify.
The protest occurred only a few hours after the taxi drivers' main trade union, Élite Taxi, called an "immediate" and "indefinite" strike for the same reason.
This is the second time in less than a year that taxi drivers have blocked the capital's Gran Via, after they did the same for eight days last July.
Around 5.30pm, the local police said the protest blocking Gran Via reached from the streets of Pau Claris to Calàbria. However, the intersections crossing Gran Via remained open.
Government measures rejected by both sides
On Friday around noon, the Catalan government informed some representatives of the taxi drivers of the new proposed decree on the ridesharing firms, which does not match their demands –yet their rivals also turned down the new regulations.
The Catalan cabinet proposes obliging firms such as Uber and Cabify to only accept services hired at least 15 minutes before.
Taxi drivers wanted these services to be hired at least six hours before, while ridesharing company sources said on Friday that measures like this one will mean their "end" in Catalonia.
The demands by taxi drivers that the government did accept is obliging their rivals to return to base once they finish each service, as well as prohibiting firms like Uber and Cabify from geolocating their clients.
Ridesharing firms intend to take decree to court
While the taxi drivers called the strike and started protests, the ridesharing firms, known by the acronym in Catalan VTC, said they would take the decree to the courts if it were approved.