Uber Returns to Barcelona After 3 Year Ban

After a three-year ban from driving in Barcelona, Uber is back. The reason for the ban was Uber's inability to meet regulations. Uber ran an UberPop service, which used the standard non-professional driver contract. Now Uber is coming back with a fully licensed driver service or their UberX category.

Carles Lloret, Uber's General Manager for Southwest Europe, stated that "We made mistakes along the way. We are changing the way we do business, putting integrity at the core of every decision we make and working hard to earn the trust of the cities in which we operate. Barcelona is no exception."

Uber faced many challenges in Spain, among them included a full shut down of services in Madrid by the Spanish courts, after local taxi drivers mounted planned strikes all over the country against Uber's invasion. Based on the past experiences and under Uber's new leadership team, headed by CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, Lloret told the press that "We are fully committed to working with the entire sector - including taxis - to improve mobility in Barcelona together."

Spain is just one of many countries that Uber and all rideshare companies have had to contend with a strong taxi lobby. London, UK, Israel, and Japan are just a few of the examples where the gig app is not fooling anyone. Taxi drivers don't actually mind Uber if the driver is a registered professional driver, just like them. This means that Uber has to contend with one of three scenarios in every country:

  1. Full exposure to a free economy, no need to meet stringent regulations and taxi services face extinction. The US, Canada, India, and Australia are prime examples.
  2. Semi-exposure, where certain regulations must be met, and, in some instances, drivers must be licensed. The UK, EU countries (28 of them) are good examples.
  3. Full exposure, where ridesharing is illegal and only regulated taxi services may operate. Japan is the best example of this.

Some countries are battling the situation with regulations and court appearances; Turkey is the current hot zone.

Uber is not alone in its endeavors to reach out globally; every rideshare company faces the same obstacles. Since Uber was the first to reach out truly, they are the flagship taking all the brunt and blame. They are also paying all the legal fees that will pave the way for competitors such as Cabify (Spain's rideshare option), Didi, Taxify, Grab and Ola.

I wont say its about time, I will say that Uber is starting to accept the reality that there are rules and regulations to follow and that the world is starting to follow suit with a demand that drivers have some kind of licensing or extra qualification than just owning a car and a driving license.