Taxi driver unions protest against Uber’s return to Barcelona

Taxi, Barcelona, Uber, Spain

Hundreds of yellow-and-black taxi cabs disrupted traffic in Barcelona on Thursday to protest against the return of the ride-hailing giant Uber to the north-eastern Spanish city after a two-year hiatus.

The US-based multinational was driven out of the streets of Barcelona in February 2019, when regional authorities ordered that rides arranged through mobile apps had to be hired at least 15 minutes in advance.

At the time, Uber said the requirement was “totally incompatible with the immediacy of on-demand services”.

But Uber resumed operating in the city of 5.4 million residents this week, allowing users to order rides from over 350 regular cabs charging with taxi-meters.

The company said it is seeking regulatory permission to also offer fixed rates for rides, Uber’s original model.

The company’s current platform in Barcelona also provides car-sharing services and displays information about public transportation, following a similar initiative in London, Paris, Lisbon and Rome, Uber said in a statement.

The return has angered cab driver unions in the Catalonia region’s capital.

Three columns of taxis made their way through Barcelona’s main thoroughfares on Thursday, advancing toward the seat of the regional parliament.

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