Uber suffers fresh blow in Europe as Madrid prepares to fine drivers

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Uber drivers in Madrid could receive fines up to £14,000 and have their cars taken away for three months thanks to Spanish transport regulations.

The restrictions are a fresh blow to Uber, which has been under attack from the Spanish taxi industry for some time.

Borja Carabante vice-councillor of Transport, Infrastructure and Housing, said:

We held a meeting in which we expressed the commitment of the community to ensure the safety of users and prevent unfair competition and we will work together with the taxi to inspect and punish private vehicles already operating at the airport.

The fines will be enforced by the local police. Spanish Uber drivers have found themselves in this predicament because of the licensing laws surrounding the industry, which make it difficult for new entrants to compete.

In June, UberPop was banned in Barcelona. UberPop allows drivers to use their own cars and customers to split the fare.

Article one of Spain's current transportation legislature is the source of much of the controversy:

Private transportation is qualified as such if it is used for personal or domestic transportation needs of the owner or close relatives. [...] Under no circumstances, will the private driver receive any kind of direct or indirect remuneration except for food money or transportation costs.

A spokesperson for Uber in Spain told The Local:

We believe that there’s room for everyone, and we’re improving transport options for both riders and drivers alike.

Earlier in the year Spain's economy minister told taxi drivers who were protesting against new services like Uber that they will have to "adapt" to changing technology.

Uber has had a tough time all over Europe especially in Germany. However, the company received some good news last month when a judge reversed a nation-wide ban that had been imposed by Frankfurt court.

Furthermore, Uber recently launched its UberTaxi service in Berlin and Hamburg after a series of struggles with the city's courts. UberTaxi, which operates in London and New York, allows users to hail a licensed cab.

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