'See you later, Barcelona' — Uber suspends cab service in Spanish city

  • Uber has suspended its ride-hailing service in the Spanish city of Barcelona.
  • The move, outlined in a blog post on Thursday, is in protest of new rules introduced by the regional government of Catalonia.

Uber has suspended its ride-hailing service in the Spanish city of Barcelona.

Taxi drivers gesture as they try to enter port during a strike against the regulation of ride-hailing and car-sharing services such as Uber and Cabify, in Barcelona, Spain, January 21, 2019.
Albert Gea | Reuters
Taxi drivers gesture as they try to enter port during a strike against the regulation of ride-hailing and car-sharing services such as Uber and Cabify, in Barcelona, Spain, January 21, 2019.

The move, outlined in a blog post on Thursday, is in protest of new rules introduced by the regional government of Catalonia.

From Friday, local officials will impose a minimum 15-minute wait between a taxi booking being made and a passenger being picked up. Vehicle for hire (VTC) Drivers are also not allowed to roam the street between jobs but must instead return to base.

"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," read the post from Uber, entitled "see you later, Barcelona."

Under the new rules, cab hire companies are also not allowed to show would-be customers where the car is located during the booking process.

The local-government has also put in place fines of up to 1,400 euros ($1,600) for any driver caught breaking the new rules.

Cabify, a locally-based competitor to Uber, also announced a suspension of its service. In a statement reported by Reuters, Cabify said the city had "given in to the demands of the taxi sector."

Uber faces national regulation in up to 28 European states, after losing a court case at the European Court of Justice in 2017.

The ruling, that the U.S. ride-hailing app is a transportation firm and not a digital company, has forced Uber to deal more closely with local governments that set transportation rules and licensing requirements.