AN ATTEMPT to shut down the Spain branch of car-pooling network BlaBlaCar has failed after a commercial court in Madrid threw out the case.
Transport firm Confebús claimed BlaBlaCar's operators posed 'unfair competition' and applied to a judge for them to be banned in Spain.
Organised entirely online, the BlaBlaCar network involves ordinary people undertaking journeys who advertise empty seats available for a fee which covers their petrol and time.
They are expected to register as self-employed and declare all their earnings, although as they are not salaried employees of the wider international company, this cannot be policed.
Insurance is in place through their membership to cover fellow travellers for loss, damage or injury.
BlaBlaCar says the scheme is cheaper, more sociable and more environmentally-friendly since it cuts down the number of vehicles on the road when several share a journey.
“Our service responds to an ever-growing global tendency towards a more cooperative economy,” said a spokesperson for BlaBlaCar.
“Thanks to the court's decision, the 2.5 million people who pool cars in Spain will be able to continue to do so, just as they do all over Europe.”
But the firm admits it will still 'face challenges to be overcome' until this new method of semi-public transport becomes accepted.
Photograph: The BlaBlaCar team