Chaos Erupts in Uber v. Taxi Drivers Turf War in Barcelona

The new versus the old

Rigged Game

The competitive advantage rideshare giants have over local taxi firms is their ability to burn cash, as investors eagerly subsidize each ride.

A fresh flash point has broken out between Uber and the highly mobilized taxi drivers of one of its most febrile markets, Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia. A two-day taxi driver strike this week, called to protest against the number of rideshare vehicles on the streets and failure to enforce national regulations that are supposed to limit private hire vehicle numbers, turned ugly on Wednesday as protesters attacked rideshare vehicles.

It’s the latest escalation in a turf war that dates back to 2015, when Uber first arrived in Barcelona. The message from the 2,000 protesting taxi drivers, some of whom had converged on Barcelona from other Spanish cities, was clear: Uber and other app-based rideshare companies such as the Spanish firm Cabify are destroying the taxi industry with…

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