Uber, Cabify to cease operations in Barcelona due to tighter regulations

Uber, Cabify to cease operations in Barcelona due to tighter regulations
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Uber and fellow ride-hailing company Cabify are set to stop their services in Barcelona on Friday in response to the city tightening its regulations to appease protesting taxi drivers.

A new law requires ride-hailing app users to contract services 15 minutes in advance of trips. It also bans drivers from circulating the city between rides, having to be parked somewhere while waiting for their next pick up.

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The city in Spain adopted the new restrictions after days of protests by taxi drivers that included blocking major roads and trashing cars that worked for the apps.

"The new restrictions approved by the Catalan government leave us with no choice but to suspend UberX as we assess our future in Barcelona," a spokesperson for Uber told The Hill on Thursday. "We are committed to being a long term partner to Spanish cities and hope to work with the Catalan government and the city council on fair regulation for all." 

The company said that UberEats will continue to operate in the city.

Uber had already pulled out of Barcelona in 2014 after being banned by courts but returned in 2016 with a new model that required their drivers to have professional licenses.

Cabify, which controls a large share of the Spanish ride-share market, told The Associated Press that they were disappointed that authorities “gave in to the pressure and demands of the taxi sector.”

The company also noted that 98.5 percent of their rides were called in less than 15 minutes.

Similar taxi driver strikes have been happening in Madrid over the past week.

Momentum to restrict ride-sharing apps in Europe has been building since the European Court of Justice ruled in 2017 that the services should be regulated like taxi services rather than technology companies.