Uber and Cabify suspend services in Barcelona after attacks by taxi drivers

Incidents of aggression against vehicles reported around the city as cab drivers protest rival transportation services

Taxi drivers attack Cabify car in Barcelona
Taxi drivers attack Cabify car in Barcelona / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

July 25, 2018 06:44 PM

Transportation platforms Uber and Cabify have temporarily suspended their services in Barcelona after their cars became the targets of aggression by taxi drivers. Some 2,000 taxi drivers in the Catalan capital went on strike on Wednesday to protest the removal of local laws limiting the number of licenses for car rentals with a driver, known as VTC.

One of the most serious incidents took place in the city center, near to the Concepció market. A group of strikers identified and attacked a Cabify vehicle carrying a family of French tourists. More than a dozen strikers surrounded the car, kicking and hitting it, while the driver implored them to stop, telling them that one of the passengers was a small girl.

The Cabify driver was then pushed around by the strikers, while the father of the family in the car was spray painted in the face when he got out of the vehicle. A video of the incident was soon posted online, while witnesses at the scene said that the small girl appeared completely terrified by the experience.

Unauto, the association representing VTC companies later announced that Uber and Cabify were “temporarily” suspending their activities in Barcelona until “the situation is brought under control.” Unauto also released images of different attacks on vehicles around the city, calling on the authorities to “protect the thousands of workers in the VTC sector.”

Sources in Unauto told the Catalan News Agency (ACN) that they hoped action taken by the police would allow their drivers to resume services “in the next few hours.” They also said that “all” incidents of aggression against drivers and vehicles would be reported to the authorities, “from the smallest to the most serious.”

Two-day taxi strike

Those traveling to Barcelona on July 25 and 26 will be met with a surprise, as taxi drivers in Barcelona are also not working, to protest the lifting of a regulation limiting companies like Uber and Cabify, which they see as competition. And this has led to a delicate situation for those helping passengers at the airport.

Lorena, an airport employee that coordinates taxis, explained that when informing passengers of options to get to their final destination in the city, there was of course Uber and Cabify, but “aren’t authorized to say so,” as otherwise they’d “have problems.”

The employee continued by saying that this is because some taxi drivers were around the airport, some “dressed normally,” and ended by explaining that they didn’t “want any problems with them.”