Another week, another strike against Uber. The latest drama unfolded in Spain last week, where taxi drivers took up metaphorical arms against various ride-hailing apps like Uber. Drivers in Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia participated in the demonstrations, marking the second show against the contentious services offered by the Silicon Valley-based startup.
While Uber was previously expelled from Spain, it slowly re-entered the market in Madrid with a version of its services that depends upon licensed drivers. Those without the proper paperwork, however, are still unable to offer rides. That means that Uber, although back in Spain, is still operating under a probation of sorts, with limited service that also does not include UberPool.
But Uber isn’t just rolling over and admitting defeat. Rather, part of the motivation behind last week’s strike was Uber’s attempt to change Spanish legislation that would remove the limits on the number of licenses available for private hire vehicles. As it stands, Spain only allows one such license for every 30 taxis, but Uber wants to up this number to allow for more drivers. Needless to say, cab drivers with the necessary documentation are none too pleased about this development.
Uber recently published a post on its Spanish blog, noting that more available licenses would “reduce urban transport prices, create thousands of jobs and favor more sustainable cities.” But it could also put other taxi drivers out o business.
One taxi driver who participated in the strike told TechCrunch that he deplored Uber’s “exploitative labor practices,” and further alleged that the company misrepresents potential earnings figures.
But Uber seemed unperturbed, with a spokesperson telling TechCrunch, “We respect the right of the taxi sector to demonstrate. But it is undeniable that urban mobility is changing very quickly across the world. We want to address a fair transition process with the public administration and taxi sector that promotes a new model of mobility in our cities, but also ensures that no one is left behind.”
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