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Spain: Taxi drivers block streets over ride-hailing services

July 30, 2018
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A man takes a photograph of parked taxis blocking the main Castellana avenue in Madrid, Monday, July 30, 2018. Representatives of taxi driver unions and Spain's government are meeting to find a way out of an indefinite strike protesting the proliferation of private ride-hailing services. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

MADRID (AP) — Striking taxi drivers brought traffic in parts of major Spanish cities to a standstill Monday by stopping their vehicles in major thoroughfares to protest ride-hailing services.

Hundreds of stationary white taxis blocked the Paseo de la Castellana, one of Madrid’s longest and broadest avenues, while protesters played soccer and relaxed on sun loungers. The disruption on the usually busy main road spilled over to affect traffic across the capital city.

Elsewhere, traffic around Barcelona’s busy El Prat airport was chaotic, and the city’s Gran Via was a logjam of vehicles. Valencia, on the east coast, also felt the strike.

The taxi drivers are angry over a court’s decision to temporarily suspend a move by Barcelona officials to curb private car ride companies. They also demand a ratio of 1 to 30 private versus public taxi licenses.

The open-ended strike started Wednesday and was set to continue Tuesday after representatives of taxi driver unions and Spain’s government failed to reach an agreement.

Taxi associations Fedetaxi, Antaxi and Elitetaxi said after three hours of negotiations at the Ministry of Development that the government’s proposals were “insufficient,” Spanish news agency Europa Press reported.

The Ministry of Development said it would also hold talks with representatives of drivers who work for app-based services such as Uber and Cabify.

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