Uber hatred: Taxi drivers strike in Spain
In Barcelona taxi drivers have been staging protests against online services like Uber and Cabify over the last few days. They have blocked arterial roads, demanding fair competition, and the protests have also spread to Madrid. Spanish commentators criticise the manner of the protests and stress that the entire sector needs new regulations.
Citizens being held hostage
Barcelona's taxi drivers are using unfair methods to hinder competition, El Mundo comments in annoyance:
“The taxi sector doesn't like Uber or Cabify and is trying to eliminate them from the market using anti-democratic and monopolistic methods. Leaving aside the minority - albeit a growing one - that is attacking people and destroying cars, bringing a city to a standstill simply because it's easy to do so is synonymous with holding the citizens hostage. And as soon as they do this the demonstrators lose their legitimacy.”
Sector needs new rules
The authorities must introduce new regulations for the sector but they won't be able to keep everyone happy, writes El Periódico de Catalunya:
“We must work on the assumption that the different positions are, in effect, irreconcilable. The protectionism that taxi drivers enjoyed for having paid for an expensive licence is no longer sustainable, just as the total liberalisation demanded by the new players is unsustainable. The conflict won't end either with the elimination of competition or with an agreement that is satisfactory to all parties. The taxi drivers can't expect to dominate the entire market as they did in the past. And Uber and Cabify can't simply destroy a sector that was constructed on the basis of a system of expensive licences as a means for the administrative authorities to privatise a public service”