Spain: Taxi Drivers Stage Strike Over Ride Sharing Apps

People march and drive taxis during a protest called by the main Spanish taxi drivers unions in Madrid, Tuesday, May 30, 2017. Taxi drivers across Spain are striking to protest the increase in cars run by private companies offering cheaper, mobile ride-hailing services. The small placard reads in Spanish: "For a respectable and professional taxi". (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Some of the biggest cities in Spain woke up to no taxis today as the majority of them were participating in a strike. The strike began in the morning and left cities like Barcelona and Madrid without the popular transportation option.

The taxi drivers decided to stage the strike over the licenses given to drivers working with ride sharing apps such as Cabify and Uber. The taxis were seen in the streets but without passengers as they were only protesting. The protesters headed to Spain’s lower house of parliament during the demonstration in Madrid.

The strike also took place in a few other cities, including Barcelona. In the city, the airport and other busy areas saw less taxis. FEDETAXI, an organization that represents a large percentage of taxi drivers, said that 100 percent of drivers were part of the strike in major cities. The organization added that there are no taxis operating in Madrid and Barcelona.

There were also reports of incidents between drivers. According to the UNAUTO association, there were reports of vehicles being vandalized. The incidents were mostly reported in Barcelona and Madrid. The president of the association said one private driver was taken to a hospital in Barcelona after he was attacked and left with a head injury.

In recent months, taxi drivers have staged a number of protests and strikes against ride sharing apps such as Uber. In June, taxi drivers staged a strike and clashed with police. According to reports, the protesters set off firecrackers and threw objects at authorities. In 2014, a judge ordered the suspension of Uber after protests. The judge accused the service of unfair competition and added that the drivers didn’t have official authorization. The service returned to Spain in March 2016 with professionally licensed drivers.

In September, Transport for London (TfL) announced it would not renew their license to operate in the city. The popular ride sharing company has appealed the decision. Two days ago, the service was banned in Israel. Uber has also decided to suspend operations in some countries over regulations and threats of fines.

Yesterday, news sites reported that Uber has now lost more than $1 billion two quarters in a row. The company lost $1.46 billion in the third quarter.