THOUSANDS OF LICENSED hackney drivers have demonstrated in the Spanish capital in opposition to the rumoured government de-regulation of the taxi trade.
Cabbies are afraid that the competition and markets authority will open up the hackney carriage sector to “upstart” app companies and by-pass the service offered by existing taxi drivers.
Miguel Angel Leal, chairman of the Spanish Taxi Federation, said:
Licensed cabbies must undergo hundreds of hours of training and their jobs are now in danger from the flooding of the market by cheaper drivers who only need a GPS to get around. We have to make a stand now or we risk losing everything.
“What multinationals do is to provide a more precarious service to citizens and more precarious jobs for workers, who become slaves.”
Barcelona cabbie Fernando Gomez (57) has worked as a taxi driver since 1984 and said that his income had fallen by 50 per cent in less than seven years. He added: “If we don’t unite, we will go to ruin.”
A spokesman for the Spanish National Authority for Markets & Competition, said it welcomed: “The arrival of new models of service providers, particularly the transport of travellers in private vehicles, will be of a benefit to consumers across the country.”