Taxi drivers to strike over ride hailing industry on May 18
All unions back protest to demand 30 to 1 ratio remain in place
This is a developing story, check the most updated article on the protest here
Taxi drivers have announced a Catalonia-wide strike on May 18 over the ride-hailing industry.
All taxi unions and associations want the ratio of taxis to ride-hailing services to be set at 30 to 1. The Catalan government is drafting a bill to regulate the sector as the Spanish government's 4-year moratorium will soon be up.
Ride-hailing apps will, in theory, no longer be allowed in urban areas from September 29, 2022, but taxi drivers say they have gotten wind of negotiations to extend the date.
Élite Taxi's Tito Álvarez, who has long galvanized the movement, complained that Catalan vice president Jordi Puigneró had not yet met with them.
In Barcelona, the strike was expected to last from 10 am to 2 pm, and as of 10 am on May 18, traffic flow was already interrupted in the city, with streets blocked off. Taxis were expected to hold a slow-drive protest through the city as a "warning" ahead of next year's municipal elections.
The protest is expected to begin on Barcelona's Gran Via, with cabs between Plaça Espanya square, near the city's south exit, and Balmes street, close to Plaça Catalunya, and end in Ciutadella Park area.
90% of all of Catalonia's taxi licenses – 10,521 – are in the Barcelona area, and taxi drivers argue there is "no room" for another 4,000 ride-hailing service providers there too.