FILE PHOTO – The Uber application is seen on a mobile phone in London, Britain, September 14, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
MADRID (Reuters) – International ride-hailing service Uber said it was suspending service in Barcelona after regional authorities passed regulations that would limit how it operates in the city.
The Catalan government ruled that ride-hailing services could only pick up passengers after a delay of at least 15 minutes from the time they were booked.
“The new restrictions approved by the Catalan government leave us with no choice but to suspend UberX while we assess our future in Barcelona,” an Uber spokesman said.
“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.”
Uber began offering its UberX service, which uses professional drivers, last March. The new regulations were imposed under pressure from taxi drivers, who held strikes in Barcelona and remain on strike in the Spanish capital, Madrid.
The drivers in Madrid escalated their protest this week by blocking one of the city’s main arteries. But Uber licenses in Spain are granted by local authorities, and so far Madrid authorities have said they would not adopt the same restriction as in Barcelona.
Unauto VTC, an association of transport companies in Spain, said Barcelona’s decision to adopt the new regulation could put 3,000 jobs at risk in Barcelona. Uber declined to say how many drivers work for it in Barcelona.
Reporting By Paul Day; editing by Axel Bugge, Larry King