The thing is that it burns, also in the world of the taxi. The Government has decided to ignore the VTC in the last and expected meeting organized by the Ministry of Development. The Sánchez Executive met yesterday with the representatives of the taxi sector and decided to deliberately forget about Uber and Cabify .
Minister Ábalos met yesterday with the representatives of Fedetaxi and Antaxi, the main taxi associations in Spain, as well as Elite Taxi and the Caracol Platform, associations that also fight against the pernicious effects that the VTC business is having on the economy the taxi drivers.
In reality, the purpose of this meeting was to explain to the actors affected by the introduction of VTC in our country the decree that the Government plans to approve on September 28 . By virtue of this, the regulatory powers of the VTC will be transferred to the Autonomous Communities.
What does this mean? Well, the city councils will have a free hand to approve regulations such as the one proposed by Ada Colau in Barcelona: require an extra urban license from the VTC and limit the number of licenses to the extreme of 1 VTC for every 30 taxis . Uber and Cabify would literally die in Barcelona and the rest of the cities would have a free hand for their application.
José Antonio Parrondo, in the center, years ago demonstrating against intrusion in the taxi | Photo: Information
What the VTC collective says
To get into this, the first thing we have to know is what exactly VTCs are and who is behind this business. As El Confidencial explains, those responsible for these VTC licensing companies are now ready to take action . The filtering of an audio reveals what is the feeling of those responsible for these platforms.
The protagonist of this recording is José Antonio Parrondo, a former taxi leader who is now in the VTC business through a company called Cibeles Comfort Cars . He is a majority partner in two of the largest rental car companies that work with Uber and Cabify. The taxi group considers him, according to El Confidencial, one of the biggest speculators of the VTC.
In the audio in question he literally says: "I am not going to die killing because I plan to win this battle." It also invites the entire VTC sector to launch “beastly” mobilizations, something that, incidentally, they themselves criticized when the taxi drivers intensified their demonstrations in the street.
The audio is absolutely eye-opening. So much so that it faithfully portrays the true face of Parrondo : the man who years ago mobilized to defend the taxi, but who is now against him. He says that after having analyzed the situation, the lawsuits could last three, four or even five years and says, as is, "that's the total bankruptcy of the companies and go to hell."
In addition, it calls for the mobilization of all VTCs, people and owners for Wednesday (today) at 7:00 p.m. They want a beastly and strong mobilization planning.
Who else is behind the VTC business?
But José Antonio Parrondo is not the only one. There is another proper name, which is Juan Ortigüela. Together they will be made with up to 3,000 licenses. But there is also Cabify, with a subsidiary called Maxi Mobility Transporte de Viajeros, which has another important handful.
Ortigüela has been linked to the VTC sector for many years and manages different fleets of vehicles. In fact, together with his brother he has a company called Ares Capital. A company that, by the way, is being investigated by the Malaga Prosecutor's Office for alleged speculation with authorizations for vehicles. Ares owns no more and no less than 145 companies with names that sound like VTC: VTC PI Cantabria Veintiseis, SL or VTC PI Andalucía Veinte, SL. And is that the brothers have licenses distributed throughout the geography.
And then there is Cabify itself, which has a company called Maxi Mobility Transporte de Viajeros SL. It says it is barely licensed and its share of the VTC market is purely testimonial. However, it has 276 registered. Most of the cars they have were registered in 2017 and are prepared to operate in the Community of Madrid, in Seville and Barcelona. In the Catalan capital, for example, he has a whopping 249: almost all of the licenses he has in his possession.
Last year's forecasts pointed to the possibility that between Ortigüela and Parrondo they could reach 3,000 licenses. The kings of the VTC in Spain invoice between two and five million euros , which indicates that the business is being more than profitable. Until now.
If the government finally decides to end the VTC business in this way against the taxi sector, it is most likely that all licenses will be reduced to a minimum. The problem is that, far from solving the problem, these groups start a real war in the streets. In that case, the incidents that occurred during the days of the taxi strike in Barcelona could become pure anecdote.
How Uber and Cabify's VTC business works
The world of VTC is not exactly easy to understand. But let's start at the beginning: VTC licenses are authorizations to carry out the activity of leasing vehicles with a driver . But these licenses have not been created now, they have existed for years, because drivers and vehicles with a driver have always existed.
What has happened is that companies like Uber or Cabify have found a very succulent market niche to exploit. These licenses are considerably cheaper than taxi licenses, since instead of costing 140,000 euros, they can be worth around 50,000.
These licenses are acquired from companies that are in the business of selling them. Then, they pay 25% of what the users of these cars pay for the trips, in concept of use to the owners of the applications, which are Uber and Cabify . Companies that, by the way, take a large part of their profits outside the country.