The day came that the Barcelona taxi was waiting for. If all goes according to plan, between 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm, the government will approve the so-called Taxi Ordinance, or “son of a taxi.” At the moment, it will take until October to launch it. If nothing changes, the days of platforms like Uber, Cabify or Bolt in Barcelona will be numbered.

A long journey, resulting in protests and great activity of Barcelona taxis. The one who created in his own image and likeness the Decree, who already takes his place as one of the most stringent in the mobility landscape and technology platforms. First, a difficult measure to follow: the minimum size of VTC vehicles. At 4.90 meters long, it was larger than the industry standard and only matched traditional VTC luxury or event-related challenges. But the reality is that It was just the beginning of something much bigger..

The rest of the measures that taxis put forward on a day tinged with victory cut out any loophole that could be left for the platforms. Hours of operation, minimum requirements before the Decree, or the obligation to take exams similar to taxis were among the points that were agreed with the taxi, which, no matter what, I wanted to go further.

Be that as it may, the Decree was born with a very clear vocation: avoid what happened in 2019. The moment when Cabify, and three years later Uber and Bolt found a legal loophole to keep going. Not with the glamor of yesteryear, but enough so that the Barcelona taxis don’t forget the fact that they won the battle, not the war. At least for the time being. The key date was September 30, 2022. The end of the decree of Abalos was the perfect opportunity to continue the competition. Now everything points to won a temporary victory.

Uber, Bolt and Cabify are not going to sit idly byyes UGT has criticized the decree threatening the employment of hundreds of workers. And the Competition has already put forward that the Taxi Ordinance is too much for a taxi. Everything points to the fact that Barcelona taxis will have to face each other in court again in order to win.

Platforms, on the legs of delegated war


Cabify, one of the companies most affected by the time of operations and investments (almost 150 million euros), was the first to make itself known. Although no one has decided what their future in Barcelona will be like from the approval of the Taxi Decree to its entry into force after the adaptation period. But the Spanish unicorn He has already announced that he is studying how to adapt to the new skyline of Barcelona.. “The company has a calling to continue operating in Barcelona as it has done for 10 years,” they said in a statement.

How will he act? This is not entirely clear, and the truth is that the text approved today does not leave many loopholes for readings with different approaches. “The conditions set by decree-law represent an almost insurmountable barrier for the sector, in addition to some deadlines that are impossible to meet,” they add.

Uber prefers to leave its struggle in the hands of Aceval (Business Association for car rental with and without a driver). From an association defending the interests of all technology platforms, it has already been pointed out that all legal actions will be initiated what was needed and what they wanted to accomplish. And the fact is that Uber, along with Bolt, has an epigraph that bears their first and last names in the Barcelona Taxi Decree. Those companies that cannot demonstrate 100 services in at least the last year will not be able to work.

The Bolt case takes the stakes to the next level. The Estonian transport unicorn celebrates a month of work in Barcelona, ​​and on the same day that the Taxi Ordinance is approved, it will not be able to work in the fall. With almost 500 drivers in Barcelona, ​​the technology company has protected its activities in the region and the interest of users since it arrived with its taxi and VTC model. However, they follow the trend of the rest of the companies. “The Decret issue worries us a lot,” he notes. hypertext Daniel José Georges, Director of VTC and Taxi Bolt in Spain “it is economic and mobile suicide, very arbitrary and clearly limiting the model’s supply.”

Like the rest of the companies, Bolt is waiting for a decision. At the moment, no one has announced that they will pack their bags again to leave Barcelona. “We spent several weeks looking for formulas to keep going,” he explains. On the one hand, they solve legal issues, on the other an appeal to a possible extension of the Abalos Decree that allows them to continue working while they are trying to keep what stock they have left that meets the 4.90 standard as the minimum size for vehicles. One that, they explain, took them by surprise and, according to them, was not agreed upon with anyone in the sector other than taxis and traditional VTCs.

Choose transport companies, not platforms

A special paragraph of the Barcelona Taxi Ordinance states who the measure is aimed at. And in this, from Aseval they are clear. Uber, Bolt and, to a lesser extent, Cabify have nothing to do with text. They, apart from the Spanish flag, are not license holders. But it is they who articulate their activities.

“We have no doubt that there will be a lawsuit because it goes against any logic of competition,” says Aceval’s Nacho Manzano, “and that it will be a difficult process.” But, “what we have no doubt is that from the moment it comes into force, an entire sector will disappear”. Lawsuits in any case come from those who are directly affected: the transport companies that own the licenses. So why are rigs affected in the years of operation caption? Many companies have been registered to enter the activities of these particular technology companies.

An important clause of the Taxi Ordinance, which largely avoids the power of large platforms over legal processes.

Neither competition nor UGT likes the Barcelona Taxi Decree

In some cases, tech companies, competitors and unions oppose any measure. Taxi Decree was one of them. But with nuances.

For the UGT, which coincides with the demonstration in the sector, the Barcelona Taxi Decree has only one translation: the loss of almost 3,000 direct and indirect jobs. “I can understand that they are protecting their sector because we cannot let Madrid with its fully liberalized market happen, but an agreement can be reached,” says Juan José Pérez, head of transport at UGT Barcelona. hypertext. From the union’s point of view, the government will “go overboard to keep jobs”. Perhaps a very naive point of view on the situation, indicating that “of course, if the 3 parties sat down, they would reach an agreement.”

In fact, and according to what they say from Aceval, there was no table, no negotiations. “We did not sit down with anyone, this measure was created to protect the taxi driver, and he left the meeting with them, saying that everything was going fatally,” they add.

And the fact is that the relationship between the Barcelona taxi and UGT is not going through the best moment. “The UGT case seems awkward to us, as they have reached an agreement with Uber and Cabify in Madrid. to paripe,” Tito Alvarez points out to the media, “we don’t understand how they can talk about instability in this sector; The other majority union didn’t say anything, and it’s suspicious that they always talk like that about these things.”

However, as expected, the Catalan Competition Authority is not enthusiastic about the reform, which will be approved today. “This is a reform that is anti-competitive and maintains regulatory inefficiency,” they say, “the result could lead to a significant reduction in the supply of VTC operators in urban areas.”

Source: Hiper Textual

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