Thursday, October 09, 2014

Madrid starts fining users of Uber 'taxi' app

After Barcelona announced plans to impound the vehicles of people caught using the app-based chauffeur service Uber, Madrid's regional government has launched a crackdown that will allow police to fine drivers and passengers up to €18,000 ($22,600).


The smartphone application Uber, which links passengers with drivers of private vehicles, has caused controversy since it came to Spain earlier this year.

After strikes and protests by taxi drivers, Barcelona banned the app in June and announced this weekend that it would modify the city's laws to punish users. Those caught by police will face having their cars impounded for up to three months plus fines of around €4,000.

Police action against Uber users has already started in Madrid, where the app launched only last month.

As of Monday, Guardia Civil and local police officers will begin to inspect and fine Uber and its users if they are found carrying passengers without the necessary licences.

Fines will range from €4,000 to €6,000 and could rise to €18,000 plus seizure of the vehicle if there are repeat offences, according to Spanish daily 20 Minutos.

Taxi drivers in both cities are unhappy with what they describe as unfair competition from the app, which charges 70 cents ($0.90) per kilometre (0.6 miles) or 30 cents per minute.

They have gone on strike on a number of occasions, protesting that they must pay for taxes, licence and insurance, unlike Uber users.

Borja Carabante, vice-councillor of Transport, Infrastructure and Housing,  said after a meeting with representatives of taxi drivers' groups that the city would "guarantee the safety of users, avoid unfair competition and work with the taxi sector to inspect and fine pirate vehicles that work at the airport, by telephone or through applications like Uber.'

"To offer a [commercial] transport service, the driver must have a qualification and, if he does not, it is an illegal activity," he added.

The legal status of Uber has been hotly debated across Europe in recent months.

Taxi drivers in Paris and London have publically protested against the app but a court in Frankfurt recently overturned a German ban on the service.

European Vice President Nellie Kroes dismissed Spanish calls for a pan-European law to settle the matter, saying that countries needed to promote innovation.

Spain's Economy Minister, Luis de Guindos, came down on the side of the app-makers and stated in June that taxi drivers would have to "adapt" to changing technology.

A spokesperson for Uber in Spain recently told The Local. "We believe that there’s room for everyone, and we’re improving transport options for both riders and drivers alike

     
       Source: The Local

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Uber have already put their prices down in london.they will not get the corporate work they want,I think they will put the prices down again and try and get work of the bus and tube trade, this will get up tfl nose and then they will ban it in london

Anonymous said...

TFL want relief from tubes and buses, they'll back uber all the way.

Anonymous said...

London will be the last place on the planet that Uber can operate in,the establishment go on about prosperity but really want you opprest & to work under fear & threat but lets have hope that Ukip do well tonight & the tables are turned on the establishment

Anonymous said...

UKIP?

Don't see many working people friendly policies from them, that said the establishment need a hiding, bunch of self serving, hypocritical parasites (and that's the good ones)

Mind you Farage did buy my old mum a brandy.

Anonymous said...

UKIP believe in the free market - cheapest is best - UKIP will welcome UBER with open arms whilst kicking working people straight in the Jacksie. It's bad enough the people of London already perceive cab drivers to be narrow minded racist bigots - one whiff of cab drivers supporting UKIP and we are toast. Maggie did such a good job conning the prolateriat they are the new middle class. Wake up right wing parties dont look after working class people. Taxi drivers are working class people!!! You vote UKIP and the NHS is finished for starters - take a proper look at thier policies and don't get conned by the racist nonsense they are drawing in the hard of thought with. Vote wisely or the taxi game is definitely dead as the men will have been and killed us.

Anonymous said...

To my mind I think whatever government is in they want Uber or similar to succeed. Reason being, all their drivers work is on account and cashless. The bean counters want full accountability of all the work all driver do, its all about control and accountability. HMRC hate the thought that some of a taxi drivers earning may not see them, with Uber they can't hide anything....