Spain Taxi Strike Against Uber Spreads

Taxi drivers block the Gran Via in Barcelona on July 28, 2018. Taxi drivers in Madrid went on strike in solidarity with Barcelona cabbies protesting against “unfair competition” from Uber and Cabify.
Josep LAGO / AFP


Taxi drivers across Spain joined a strike Monday against ride-hailing competitors such as Uber and Cabify who they say unfairly threaten their livelihoods.

The strike began in Barcelona last week and spread Saturday to Madrid as drivers demanded action from the government, which is due to meet their representatives at midday.

Strikes or partial stoppages have been called in Valencia in eastern Spain, Zaragoza and Bilbao in the north, and Seville in the south.

The strike was sparked after the Spanish government appealed a ruling by the Barcelona authorities that limited the number of licences for Uber-style services.

Taxi driver federations want the authorities to strictly enforce the legislation under which there should be 30 traditional taxis for each VTC (Tourism Vehicle with Chauffeur).

Today there are only five traditional taxis for every VTC, they say, warning that they will extend their action to blocking ports, airports and even the border with France if Madrid fails to act.

In Barcelona, Spain’s biggest tourist attraction, hundreds of black and yellow taxis parked for a third day on the Gran Via, one of the city’s main roads.

Some drivers camped out there, sleeping on mattresses on the ground, in tents or in their taxis.

VTC drivers have in turn criticised their traditional taxi peers, charging that they were attacked in Barcelona last week.

“We sincerely hope that the state does not give in to blackmail from violent people,” said Unauto, the platform which represents Uber et Cabify.


Angry Istanbul Taxi Drivers Seek To Block Uber

FILE PHOTO Angelo Merendino / AFPuber


An Istanbul court on Monday began hearing a case against Uber brought by the city’s taxi drivers seeking to have the ride-hailing app blocked, as tensions mount in Turkey over its popularity.

The suit brought by the main association representing taxi drivers for Istanbul is the latest legal headache for the fast-growing but controversial Uber which has already seen its licence withdrawn in London.

Dozens of taxi drivers held a noisy protest outside the main courthouse in Istanbul where the case was heard, brandishing placards including “we don’t want the global thief”.

Lawyers for the Taxi Drivers Association told the court they wanted the app blocked in the city. The court said it would wait for a report from the association and adjourned the next hearing until June 4.

‘Ready for anything’ 

Tensions over the growing popularity of Uber have spread in Turkey, in some cases resulting in violence.

On Saturday, shots were fired at an Uber vehicle in Istanbul’s Kucukcekmece district but the driver was unhurt.

Uber drivers have also received false calls from people pretending to be passengers who then beat them up, according to a report in the Turkish newspaper Haberturk last week.

Eyup Aksu, the head of the main taxi drivers guild in Istanbul, slammed Uber as “pirates” and warned that the taxi drivers were ready to act if decisions went against them.

“If the judiciary takes a contrary decision then our patience is sapped. Taxi drivers are ready to do anything for their bread,” he said outside the courthouse.

Taxi drivers gathered at the court threw bottles of water at vehicles they suspected of being driven by Uber drivers, the Dogan news agency said.

Business troubles

The yellow taxis of Istanbul form the transport backbone of the city, with some 18,000 vehicles helping move commuters and tourists in a megapolis where public transport can be patchy.

Some complain Istanbul taxi drivers can be abrasive and prone to ripping off tourists. But most drivers, who usually rent their car from the licence holder, are doing their best to earn a living honestly in a tough city.

Taxi drivers around the world have complained that Uber has made inroads into their business but the company’s biggest trouble has been in London where Uber lost its licence over criminal record checks for drivers.

It is still allowed to operate in the British capital pending an appeal. New chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi is seeking to clean up the company’s reputation worldwide after replacing ousted co-founder Travis Kalanick last year.


Taxi Drivers Embark On Strike In Protest Against Uber

A man poses holding a smartphone showing the App for ride-sharing cab service Uber in London on September 22, 2017. Photo: Ben FATHERS / AFP

Greek commuters saw journeys disrupted as taxi drivers downed tools to protest at competition from ride-sharing firm Uber on a day rail workers also held a 24-hour strike.

“For three years we have been fighting against Uber’s illegal and arbitrary incursion into transport,” read a statement from the Athens taxi drivers’ union Sata.

Sata pointed out it has been urging the Greek government to regulate the sector, invoking a European Court of Justice ruling from December which found Uber must accept regulation and licensing across EU states as a taxi operator.

A Spanish association of taxi operators which brought the case dubbed that ruling a “social victory” against a company which has long battled legal uncertainty over its status in Europe as taxi drivers and officials in several countries accuse it of flouting local regulations.

Demonstrating taxi drivers in Athens urged Greece immediately legislate to respond to Uber’s “illegality and fraud” and protect the sector.

A rail strike compounded matters for commuters and tourists alike after drivers went on strike in protest over staffing levels and at the impending selloff of rail maintenance firm Rosco, one of two firms to emerge from the 2012 split of former public rail operator OSE.

The other firm, the rail operator Trainose, recently fetched 45 million euros ($50 million) from Italian public rail firm Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane (FS).

EU authorities have yet to wave the deal through as they assess a dossier on state aid relating to some 700 million euros of Trainose debt owed to OSE.

Trainose workers have staged several strikes to protest the selloff, undertaken as Greece seeks to pare down its debt mountain to EU and IMF creditors.


Abuja Taxi Drivers Call For Peaceful Polls

Taxi DriversTaxi drivers in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, have joined the league of groups calling on candidates of political parties and their supporters to shun violence and vote for peace during the February polls.

The taxi drivers gathered in their dozens at the Unity Fountain to stage a ‘drive for peace’ and support for the incumbent, President Goodluck Jonathan, at the weekend.

They hoped to mobilize their members to vote for the incumbent whose administration, they said, has impacted positively on them.

Nigeria’s general elections are only two weeks away and aside rallying support for the President, the group of taxi drivers said that the exercise was also targeted at sensitizing members, and other party supporters on the need to vote peacefully during the polls.

Nigerians will go to the polls in February 14 for the presidential elections and February the 28 to elect governors and legislators in the states and at the federal level.

Political parties and their supporters have less than 14 days to canvass support for their candidates.