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MADRID CITY Council is calling on the Spanish cab regulator to launch an investigation into whether Uber’s new low-cost airport transfer service is in breach of car hire competition law.

The company’s controversial Uber Airport service charges 15-29€ for a journey between Madrid’s Barajas International Airport and the centre of the city. Regular taxis charge a fixed rate of 30€ for the same journey.

A statement issued by Madrid City Council said:

Uber Airport could be violating several articles of the Law of Unfair Competition and consumer rights, if it is proven that the service is being operated at prices below operational costs, with the sole intention of gaining customers through unfair competition.

Spanish taxi drivers have held a number of strikes and street demonstrations this year, arguing that ride-hailing app services – which are regulated in Spain under VTC (chauffeur tourist) licences – are illegal and constitute unfair competition because they do not have to abide by the same licence rules. They also pay less tax.

A spokesman for the Spanish Taxi Federation said: “There is already one VTC licence for 11 regular taxis, which is well over the 1 / 30 ratio established under national competition law in 2015. A spokesman for the Ministry of Public Works said: “In Madrid (which is the only Spanish city where Uber is currently active), there are more than 2,000 VTC-licensed taxis and about 15,000 traditional taxis.”

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