There was a question mark over the future of these racing cars as Andalucia decided whether or not to regulate them
Companies that rent vehicles with drivers in Malaga and elsewhere on the Costa del Sol – such as Uber, Cabify and Bolt – will still be able to continue operating from October 1, as the Junta de Andalucía has agreed to prepare a new set of rules to regulate their industry.
However, the news has not gone down well with traditional taxi drivers, who continue to see ride-sharing companies (called VTC in Spain) as a threat to their livelihoods. Half of the taxis in the Andalusia region, including those on the Costa de Sol, went on strike for the day of protest on Thursday this week.
The national government has told regional authorities that they must come up with regulations for ride-hailing on their own. If they don’t, ride-sharing companies could only operate between different municipalities and not within a town or city itself. This would effectively make their business model unsustainable.
For example, without regional rules, Uber-style drivers could take customers from Malaga airport to Torremolinos or Marbella, but not from the airport to downtown Malaga. They also couldn’t pick up in Puerto Banús and drive down the road to Marbella old town.
The regional government of the Junta de Andalucía, having received this “hot potato” from the government, has decided to opt for the regulation and the details of its proposal will be published in the coming days.
Taxi drivers are nervous
The junta is expected to include a series of measures to protect the taxi business and ensure it remains profitable. Taxi drivers believe that companies like Uber, Cabify or Bolt have easier conditions than them and that they compete unfairly.
In the province of Malaga, 2,332 carpooling licenses have been issued so far, almost three quarters of all those in Andalusia (3,202). By comparison, there are 2,740 taxis in the province and the taxi industry believes that is too many.
The main challenge for regulators is how to ensure that VTC cars do not linger around major public buildings, such as train stations, airports or hospitals, waiting to be summoned by customer phones. . This is what annoys competing taxis the most.
A possible solution is to set a minimum time between the time of booking an Uber-like car and the time of pick-up.
However, this idea has already caused problems in other regions of Spain, such as Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, where in some regions the legal gap is 15 minutes and in others an hour: companies rideshare companies are taking legal action to try to stop this.
The regional government would therefore now consider setting distance limits around the main collection points.
In other words, these special no-wait zones would be 300 meters around airports, ports, train stations and bus stations and 150 meters for other points such as hospitals or four-star hotels. Uber-style cars would be prohibited from driving in these areas unless a customer has already reserved them.
Other rules for ride-hailing to protect taxis may include vehicle size restrictions or minimum low-emissions requirements.