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Taxi vs. Uber: Capitalism meets the Spanish taxi industry

Taxi vs. Uber: Capitalism meets the Spanish taxi industry
Written by Enrique

Catching a Ride

No matter where you are, especially here in Barcelona when trying to get from point A to B you want the cheapest, fastest and most comfortable way to do so. Well what happens when such services are no longer being provided by a single company, giving leeway for  private companies  to be able to get a piece of the pie. Not only that, but what if what’s considered to be a legitimate way of business in a certain part of the world, also considered as an illicit way to be providing the same services in others. Here is where the rubber of the long-established taxi companies have met the road.  Uber, a San Francisco-based company has created a new way to catch a cab, that is revolutionizing the way of the taxi. With easy access to pin-point location for pick-up and drop-off, Uber has become one of the most convenient ways to use transportation.  Though, by no means has this entrepreneur dream been easy to start.Catalonia Taxi protest

The End of Uber

Here in Barcelona, Uber has met its ethical match, people with the possibility to be left without a job. According to a census done in 2006 by the Institut Metropolitὰ del Taxi, there are close to 12,000 licensed taxi cab drivers that remain active.  If Uber and similar competitors are able to fully spread their wings and take-off, those 12,000 families could now potentially be left without a strong source of income. As a matter of fact, most of the opposition that these companies have felt has come from taxi drivers and unions themselves. As part of their counter hand, these strikes have proven to the app-based transportation systems that the old-ways are here to stay and won’t go down without putting up a fight.

News from informs, that since the landing of Uber in Paris in 2011 and London in 2012, strikes have broken out across Europe. However, newly proposed legislation as well as a means to be able to enforce the new regulations has created loopholes for these app-based companies.  Because there has been a vast amount of grey area formed because of the ongoing notion, it wasn’t until this past year that the CTE made it clear that change was bound to occur.  This movement however, has allowed other competitors like BlaBlaCar and Madrid-based Cabify still on the market. Likewise, the last move from Uber has demonstrated that some loopholes and grey areas on the matter still need to get worked out.

A few months after the “official” ban of Uber in Spain, the company reinvented itself as UberEATS. Through UberEATS, users are able to order food from participating restaurants. NPR has recently discussed some of the tactics as well as some of the opposition that this new movement has faced. Uber offers similar services in Los Angeles, CA. Yet the company decided to use Barcelona as its starting point in order to be able to make the delicious Spanish gastronomy more available.  It has been interesting to note however, that with or without opposition this five-year-old company has been able to expand to over 50 countries. Barcelona offers a story to tell however way you may wish to travel.

Protest 1

About the author


Enrique is a writer, world traveler, and music enthusiast.


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