Uber has suspended its services in Barcelona, almost a year after it returned to the Catalan capital, following the introduction of new regulations by Catalonia’s regional government.
The ride-hailing firm made the decision to withdraw its UberX service due to a rule imposed by the Generalitat de Catalunya which would require vehicle for hire (VTC) bookings to be made a minimum of 15 minutes in advance of a passenger being picked up. The restrictions, which are being introduced right across Catalonia, are aimed at stopping the VTC sector competing directly with taxis.
“At Uber, we want there to be regulation. Our goal is to become a long-term ally of the more than 600 cities in which we operate. And Barcelona is not an exception,” writes Uber in a blog post [in Spanish]. “But, to contribute to the life of a city, we need fair regulation. In the case of Catalonia, a regulation that takes into account the thousands of driver and users of VTC, who today see their livelihood disappear along with their freedom to choose how they move around their city. The obligation to wait 15 minutes to travel in a VTC does not exist anywhere in Europe and is totally incompatible with the immediacy of on-demand services, such as UberX.”