A CABIFY car driven through central Barcelona was overturned and smashed up by a group of 10 people in the early hours of this morning (Saturday), the latest incident in the ongoing nationwide protest against car-pooling companies such as Über and BlaBlaCar.
Taxi drivers have already staged at least one strike in Madrid, and another took place all day in Barcelona on Thursday with protesters carryig banners.
But Barcelona cabbies have condemned the attack on the Cabify driver, saying their own demonstrations are non-violent.
Taxi drivers in both cities are against the car-pooling schemes because they say these are undercuttig them and will put them out of business.
Users of BlaBlaCar, Cabify and Über say traditional taxi-drivers need to move with the times and accept that competition will always be a fact of business life.
Those who use the schemes say they are ideal for longer-distance runs – a trip from Valencia to Madrid may cost as little as €12 or €20, and even less for an hour-long airport run, whilst the equivalent in a taxi could range from €200 to €800 or even more.
Yet booking an Über ride to get from one end of town to the other after the bars close for the night would not be practical, and hailing a cab on the street is cheap enough and very convenient.
A recent online survey showed, however, that three-quarters of respondents believe town and city councils who allow car-pooling schemes to operate are 'favouring professional intrusions', 'supporting large or foreign firms at the expense of local traders' and that these should be banned.
The remaining quarter are in favour of free competition, which encourages creativity and diversification, and recognises the values of each type of transport for the different areas they are most useful for.
This 25% comments that bus companies do not go on strike because trains are 'taking away business', nor would taxi drivers strike over the presence of bus services.
But the debate has gone Europe-wide, with some countries considering banning the likes of Über from their streets.