The Malaga Public Prosecutor office has begun investigating Uber and Cabify after discovering irregularities in the purchasing of VTC licenses.
VTC’s, at less than 0.01 per cent of the cost of a traditional licence, can authorise 30 taxi vehicles per unit. The only differences between the authorisations is that with a VTC a driver is solely restricted to pre-contracted work a condition that, according to taxi drivers, is not being respected.
In order to pick up customers on the street, airports and train stations, drivers must obtain a taxi driving licence. However, this type of licence works in accordance with supply and demand, meaning taxi licences must be transferred from one driver wishing to sell one to the interested buyer.
Studies have shown that licenses can range from between €45,000 to €150,000, while hire giants like Uber and Cabify can acquire VTC’s for €30 each.
“Public transport is threatened by powerful monopolies like Uber,” one of the taxi drivers explained, “the taxi sector contributes over €400 million per year to this country, which will be lost in favour of these multinationals that use tax havens to subvert government income.”
Following Spain’s ongoing battle with Uber since 2014, when the government suspended the company’s right to operate, Uber communication director for Spain and Portugal said that “Spain is quickly gaining the reputation of a technophobic country,” with “transport law remaining extremely difficult.”
Taxi drivers from 11 municipalities have taken their voices from the streets to the courts by organising under The Confederation of Taxis in the Costa Del Sol. The confederation have filed a case against Cabify, after discovering the company was stock buying VTC’s and reselling them for €30,000 in an attempt to dominate the market.
In May traditional taxi drivers held a two hour strike in solidarity against the monopolisation of the market, with some travelling to Madrid to join the main demonstration.