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Nine Cabify cars torched in Seville in escalating row with taxi firms

The on-demand vehicle company had beefed up services due to influx of visitors for April Fair

Cabify, a car service similar to Uber, has told authorities in Seville that its workers feel “threatened” after nine of its vehicles were set on fire in the southern city in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The company, which provides chauffeured cars through a smartphone app, had reinforced its service in the Andalusian capital because of the influx of visitors to the popular Feria de Abril, or April Fair.

One of the burnt-out vehicles.
One of the burnt-out vehicles. EFE

In a release, Cabify said that ever since it began operating in Seville in September, it has been “the victim of attacks by sectors that feel threatened by the progress and innovation introduced by Cabify in the area of urban mobility.” The company asked authorities to “get involved” and to “work together to put an end to these regular acts of aggression.”

The torching of nine vehicles belonging to self-employed drivers or companies that work with Cabify is being investigated by the Civil Guard, said the statement.

The National Police is currently investigating 27 taxi drivers for alleged threats against fellow cabbies

Cabify and other on-demand car service companies have been repeatedly reporting incidents involving violence and harassment against their drivers. Meanwhile, the taxi sector is complaining about encroachment by individuals who do not submit to the same kind of regulations as licensed cab drivers.

The National Police is currently investigating 27 taxi drivers for alleged threats against fellow cabbies and drivers of other companies, in connection with the taxi stop at San Pablo airport, where this group allegedly will not let other drivers operate.

In March of this year, taxi drivers in Madrid and Barcelona went on strike to protest Uber, Cabify and other on-demand car services, which they view as unfair competition. The US-based company Uber began operating in Spain in late 2014, and has since agreed to cooperate with authorities on certain issues. Cabify was founded by a Spaniard in 2011 and is now active in Spain, Portugal and Latin America.

English version by Susana Urra.

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