Experience-hailing wars: Why Uber, Cabify are dealing with a Spanish backlash

Uber’s flying taxi service pitched at authorities for trial in Australia
The corporate has requested for cooperation from Australian governments so it may well demo Uber Air within the nation as early as subsequent 12 months.

Contained in the current Cellular World Congress, shiny transport know-how was in all places, from connected and autonomous cars, to 5G ambulances.

However exterior the venue, the truth was rather less shiny. On the streets of Barcelona, MWC19 attendees have been having to take care of a metro strike, site visitors jams, transportation tickets errors, and a protest by Uber and Cabify drivers.

Each corporations had deserted town earlier in February, after a number of weeks of battle with conventional taxi drivers that resulted in a decree from the Catalan authorities requiring ride-hailing autos to be employed 15 minutes upfront and banning automobiles from being geolocated and shifting across the metropolis in search of clients.

Cabify now says it’s going to once more function in Barcelona “having adapted its model to the restrictions imposed by the Catalan government”, returning with a 300-vehicle fleet “in an initial phase”. 

However in accordance with Unauto, an affiliation {of professional} drivers with passenger transport automobile (VTC) licenses that cowl ride-hailing companies, there are round 15,000 VTC holders in Spain, with about 3,000 in Catalonia earlier than the decree was permitted.

One of many drivers of the 10,500 typical taxis circulating within the metropolis, Felipe Ausin, says VTCs have all the time been there. However he reckons that the Spanish regulation that establishes a ratio of 1 VTC for 30 taxis has not been revered in permitting Uber and Cabify automobiles to function.

What rankles with drivers like him is {that a} taxi license prices as a lot as shopping for a home: €120,000 or $136,000. That funding takes time to get well, therefore the hostility to drivers from Uber and Cabify who do not must pay that premium.

SEE: Tech and the future of transportation (ZDNet particular report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

José Yañez, a 54-year-old taxi driver, with 33 years’ expertise, considers that “drivers with a VTC license occupy a space that’s not theirs because they provide the same service as a taxi without paying the same license”.

He additionally stresses that self-employed drivers like him can not compete with massive corporations like Uber or Cabify, so he’s proud of the brand new decree.

Uber’s Spanish spokesman, Yuri Fernández, argues that the duty to attend 15 minutes to journey in a VTC doesn’t exist wherever else in Europe and is completely incompatible with the immediacy of on-demand companies, reminiscent of UberX.

“The future of mobility is being able to choose,” he says, and is vital to growing a sustainable mobility technique with fewer autos circulating within the streets.

To realize that, all of the stakeholders have to work collectively, Fernández argues. “Uber and the taxi sector working together? It may sound weird, but it’s not. We already do it in several cities around the world, and we want to do it in Spain.”

In Madrid, the ordinance that seeks to manage the exercise of ride-hailing companies within the metropolis continues to be being mentioned. The proposal that the majority worries Uber and Cabify drivers is a limitation on the kilometers they will do with no passenger within the automobile. 

They argue it might be unfair to use such restrictions to them when issued by Madrid Metropolis Council exhibits {that a} typical taxi travels about 208km a day within the metropolis, 113.6km of them with none rider (129 miles and 70.6 miles).

SEE: The new commute: How driverless cars, hyperloop, and drones will change our travel plans (TechRepublic cowl story) | Download the PDF version

In the meantime, millennials and technology Z customers do not perceive why their low cost choices are being restricted. Laura and Inès, 18 and 24 years previous respectively, each college students in Barcelona and customers of Uber and Cabify, have been devastated when each corporations give up town.

They know that the standard taxi sector has additionally developed functions to order autos by means of their telephones, however they nonetheless favor the sharing-economy options.

“The vehicles are cleaner, and they take you where you want to go without unnecessary detours,” says Inès, who’s doing a masters in worldwide regulation.

Ultimately, protests from either side are in all probability futile, given what was occurring contained in the MWC19 venue. Expertise change is unstoppable and likewise opens up new prospects, reminiscent of cooperative ride-sharing apps based on blockchain or non-profit rideshare.

No matter future know-how guarantees, taxi driver José Yañez simply desires to maintain driving his automobile: “You know, I don’t think the autonomous car will take over the streets tomorrow.” 

Earlier and associated protection

Uber’s flying taxi service pitched at government for trial in Australia

The corporate has requested for cooperation from Australian governments so it may well demo Uber Air within the nation as early as subsequent 12 months.

Class action lawsuit against Uber goes national 

A category motion towards Uber raised in Victoria might be opened as much as one other three states, which might make it one of many largest class actions in Australian historical past.

Uber fined £900,000 by UK, Dutch privacy regulators over 2016 data breach

The hacker accountable was paid off to maintain quiet.

London black cab drivers to launch class action lawsuit against Uber

Authorized wheels might now be in movement as Uber is granted an prolonged license to work within the capital.

Autonomous cars as a service: How Panasonic is preparing for a future where most drivers don’t own cars TechRepublic

Panasonic is making ready for a future the place autonomous automobiles upend the auto trade and most automobiles are offered to ride-sharing corporations like Uber or Lyft.

Uber proposes $20M settlement of driver classification lawsuit CNET

After a choose rejected an earlier supply, the ride-hailing firm tries once more. Its purpose is to make sure drivers stay impartial contractors, not workers.

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