Uber tries to clean up image with electric car fleet in Madrid

Ride-hailing service was driven off Spanish streets in 2014 but returned in April

Uber has introduced a fleet of electric cars to its Madrid service. Photograph: Laura Dale/PA Wire

Uber has introduced a fleet of electric cars to its Madrid service. Photograph: Laura Dale/PA Wire

 

Ride-hailing service Uber Technologies launched in Madrid on Thursday its first fleet of electric cars.

In Spain’s capital city, as elsewhere, Uber’s service of matching private car owners with passengers has prompted anger among the heavily-regulated taxi sector.

The company hopes the introduction of cleaner cars will help improve its image in a city governed by left-wing, environmentally mayor Manuela Carmena, said Carles Lloret, managing director of Uber for southern Europe

Madrid’s city administration in November unveiled new measures at combating pollution, from limiting private traffic in the centre to tightening speed limits on access roads.

“We want to do things that are in line with what the town hall wants,” Mr Lloret said.

Regulation and hostility from local taxi firms drove Uber off Spanish streets at the end of 2014 after a Spanish judge ruled the company did not comply with the country’s laws and represented unfair competition.

But it returned to Madrid in April with UberX which, unlike its previous UberPop service, used professionally licensed drivers. The fleet of electric cars form a part of its premium UberOne service, which offers extras such as in-car Internet connections.

Uber operates in Madrid with restrictive licences which it says impedes expansion. It hopes the launch of the environmentally service may encourage a liberalisation of the car-sharing sector.

“We would love to see more licences awarded in the future, perhaps for greener cars so there could be more in circulation,” said Mr Lloret.

Founded in 2009, Uber Technologies Inc. has expanded exponentially worldwide but has come up against opposition from traditional taxi drivers and faced court injunctions in several countries, including Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands as well as Spain.

Reuters

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.