Taxis return to Madrid streets as strike ends with no agreement

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-06 20:06:37|Editor: ZX
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MADRID, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Over 15,000 taxis in Madrid returned to work on Wednesday morning after drivers voted to end a 16-day strike that demanded tougher regulations on private hire vehicles used by companies like Uber and Cabify.

More than 7,800 drivers voted, with 54 percent of them voting to end the strike while 45 percent disapproving.

During the strike, taxis in Madrid offered no services. Drivers carried out protests. They blocked streets, blockaded the FITUR tourism exhibition, and held meetings at the central square and outside the offices of the People's Party which controls the Madrid regional government with support from the center-right Ciudadanos.

Drivers are angry at what they consider as unfair competition from Uber and Cabify, eager to see the regional government introduce a strict ratio to limit the amount of such vehicles on streets.

They also want to see regulations providing that customers can only use those vehicles when booking them at least an hour in advance. However, the taxi drivers have so far failed to win any concession from the regional authorities.

"We have managed to unite all of the professionals and associations in just one name: the taxi," said Julio Sanz, president of the Professional Taxi Federation, on a local newspaper El Pais.

Similar actions in Barcelona were more successful as drivers won concessions from the Catalan regional authorities, which said they will introduce laws obliging passengers to book rides with Uber and Cabify at least 15 minutes in advance.

This prompted the two companies to say they were ending services in the city, a move which will cause job loss for around 3,000 people.