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Cabify returns to Barcelona, accepting regulatory conditions

Ridesharing app Cabify has announced that it will return to service in Barcelona with 300 cars in operation, having accepted the regulatory conditions set by the Catalan government.

Cabify and Uber halted service in the Catalan capital in January following the announcement of the new regulations limiting their service, which came after strikes from the city’s taxis. Taxi drivers went on strike and blocked major streets in the city in January 2019 and July 2018.

Having accepted the regulations determined by the government, Cabify customers will be able to use the service once again, but will only be able to hail a ride on the app 15 minutes in advance.

Taxi drivers block a roundabout by the Gran Via during a strike on 18 January 2019. (Josep Lago / AFP)

However, as taxis drivers saw this as insufficient and demanded a longer waiting period, the Barcelona Metropolitan Area have announced that they will likely extend this 15-minute waiting period to one hour.

The decree the government laid down also states that there must be only one license awarded to drivers of the ridesharing apps for every 30 taxis operating in the city.

The protests of the taxi drivers drew criticism from some after images of protestors clashing with police were seen across the city, as well as some vehicles of the ridesharing apps being vandalised.

The president of Catalonia’s Unauto ride-hailing association took taxi drivers to task for using violence to protest. ‘There is a small but violent group of taxi drivers, who are doing a lot of damage not only to us but also to their colleagues, who are using mafia-style tactics to achieve their economic goals,’ said Josep Maria Goñi.

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