Barcelona | MadridUpdated:
«The taxi has won», repeated with a feeling of defeat the president of Unauto VTC Catalonia, Josep Maria Goñi, last night after an intense day of negotiations to unblock the war of the taxi in Barcelona at the expense of the regulation of the companies that operate with VTC (tourism vehicles with driver). The fifth day of an indefinite strike of taxis in the Catalan capital started with the conflict entrenched in the street and in the offices and, almost by surprise, ended with a beginning of the end of the conflict following the last movement of the Generalitat, which opens to extend the recruitment "timings". All this seems to a part of the demonstrators a cession before the pressures of the taxi drivers, whose spokesmen came to ensure in the morning that if there was no agreement they would take "more forceful measures".
The intense negotiations -of more than four hours with the taxi drivers and barely half an hour with the VTC- ended with a new offer on the table: the modification of the initial proposal of Decree Law so that the pre-contracting of the services of platforms such as Uber o Cabify must be done in advance between fifteen minutes and one hour, and not the initial quarter hour.
Thus, the proposal of the Government, which comes "with legal robustness, balanced and proportionate", as assured the Minister of Territory and Sustainability, Damià Calvet, will leave in the hands of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB) have a regulation that allows this time of pre-contracting This period, in fact, is the one that representatives of the AMB, starting with its president, the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, had indicated in the last few days as reasonable to resolve the conflict. The latest proposal also aims to prevent geolocation and to circulate without service.
The taxi drivers received the principle in accordance with applause and cheers, but they kept the strike indefinitely: this morning they have to vote the conditions in an assembly and it will be then when the yellow tide puts an end to their claim.
On the other hand, the representatives of the VTC were defeated after listening to the arguments of the Generalitat, whom they accuse of having "finally given way to the blackmail of the taxi sector". "We are obliged to communicate that the VTC must leave the city" if such regulations are confirmed, said Goñi, together with the global director of Cabify Regulation, Marta Plana, at the end of the meeting. Unauto will now study all the legal measures to fight against a regulation that they consider "unfair, dictated by the taxi sector and driven by coercion."
In addition, although platforms such as Uber and Cabify have been threatening to abandon their services in Barcelona, where they would have this hour in advance, and although yesterday after the negotiations it was pointed out that this could be reached, the truth is that they have not yet finalized such decision.
Madrid, more entrenched
If in Barcelona the conflict began, in principle, to dissipate, in Madrid the entanglement of jurisdiction kept the taxi conflict in Madrid blocked, that yesterday lived a very hard day where the meetings followed and also the violent conats in the access roads: M-40 and the N-2 suffered sporadic cuts, one of which a taxi driver was injured after a winding. Accessing the airport by car was impossible, and some people, not to lose their flights, ventured to leave the vehicle and walk through, suitcase in hand. The panorama was so complicated that the regional president, Ángel Garrido, demanded that the Government Delegation act.
Meanwhile, taxi drivers and regional government broke the contacts, after a marathon six-hour meeting on Monday that ended at the stroke of midnight and without agreement. A word separates the postures: pre-contracting. The same as in Barcelona. For the taxi drivers from Madrid, it is an indispensable condition to agree; President Ángel Garrido, however, assured that "I will not accept it; I'm not going to legislate to end a sector ».
The Madrid executive believes that the competition on this aspect is the City Council. The taxi drivers went yesterday to the office of the councilor of Mobility, Inés Sabanés, who explained Miguel Angel Leal - president of the Madrid Taxi Union - was willing to regulate on pre-contracting if the regional government offer sufficient legal guarantees to address this competition.
In the regional government also point to another culprit: the Central Government. From Rodríguez Zapatero and his "Omnibus Law" of 2009, which ended with the limitation of licenses -reimposed again in 2015-, to Fomento that moved the problem to the communities, they point out. And remember that Carmena and Colau, mayors of Madrid and Barcelona, also demonstrated in summer in favor of regulating the VTC with a second municipal license.
The representatives of the VTC have also entered the fray, demanding their rights -among others, to work without suffering violence- and a regulation that allows coexisting with taxis and VTC, "as in many European countries." The pre-contracting - up to 6 hours before the service, as requested by taxi drivers in Madrid - "would be the end of Uber and Cabify operations in the capital," explained Eduardo Martín, president of Unauto. Its platform demanded that the Delegation of the Government of Madid, and its counterpart in Catalonia, guarantee security on the streets.
The employers from Madrid, CEIM, wanted to become a problem that threatens to burst, starting today, the International Tourism Fair, Fitur, which today opens with the presence of the Kings in fairgrounds literally taken by taxi drivers.