Uber bumps into more roadblocks in Europe

After running into trouble trying to launch its car-for-hire service in France, Uber faces a new hurdle in Spain, according to blog site Tech.Eu.

Taxis protesting "VTC" car services like Uber or AlloCab blocked traffic in Paris.
Taxis protesting car services like Uber or AlloCab blocked traffic in Paris. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET of CaBoMaN238/Twitter

Uber recently launched its car-hailing service in Spain. There's only one problem. It's apparently illegal.

Uber provides a service through which those seeking a ride can find people willing to drive them, oftentimes for less than the cost of a traditional taxi or car service. Need a ride? Just tap into Uber's mobile app to track down a nearby driver. The company offers such options as UberTaxi and UberBlack, both of which require that the driver have a commercial license.

But for its UberPop service, the drivers themselves are just ordinary folk -- essentially anyone who's licensed to drive, has the necessary insurance, and owns a car. And that's what's causing trouble in Spain, says Tech.Eu.

As translated below, article 101 of Spain's transportation legislation outlaws any type of for-profit private transportation:

"Private transportation is qualified as such if it is used for personal or domestic transportation needs of the owner or close relatives. [...] Under no circumstances, will the private driver receive any kind of direct or indirect remuneration except for food, money, or transportation costs."

Also labeling Uber as illegal are taxi drivers in Spain, who are threatening protests across the country. As translated by Tech.Eu, a press release from the Spanish Taxi Confederation stated the following:

"[Uber] is, to the best of our knowledge, a totally illegal business that incites the use of 'pirate' transportation without any guarantee for the consumers as well as fomenting the black economy as none of those transactions are registered as economic activity or under administrative control [...] If no immediate correction measures are taken, we might be on the verge of an imminent nationwide protest."

Uber and similar services have already faced protests from taxi drivers in Paris. One such protest in January turned violent with smashed windows and flat tires.

In a blog posted Friday, Uber challenged the protests of the taxi drivers and vowed to continue its expansion around the world.

"That taxis are choosing to protest against our arrival is their choice," wrote the company. "However, the status quo is benefiting no one -- not the people, not the drivers, not the city. Safety, reliability, and choice, not protesting, are what draws customers towards innovative forms of transportation.

"Uber is active in over 90 cities around the world, and we're not stopping anytime soon, despite attempts by the taxi industry's biggest players to fight innovation and consumer choice. Operations continue in every Uber city and to overwhelming consumer and driver demand."

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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