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European Court of Justice REJECTS capped number of ride-hail cars operating in Barcelona

The Court of Justice of the European Union (EU) has rejected the rules set by the city of Barcelona regarding the number of cars operating through ride-hailing applications like Bolt and Uber.

Barcelona had introduced stringent regulations to limit the number of private cars hired for passenger transportation through mobile platforms or fleet owners intending to protect the city's taxi services' interests.

The restrictions had earlier limited the number of licences available to private cars hired for passengers to one-thirtieth of the number of taxis. Regulators will now determine the number of licences based on passenger needs.

The EU's top court ruled that the restrictions imposed are against EU law. The court noted that any restriction should serve general interests such as protecting the environment and avoiding excessive traffic and should not discriminate against particular providers. The Catalonia high court will now have to direct Barcelona to comply with the EU's ruling.

The EU's ruling also sets a benchmark for other areas where such restrictions have been enforced. These include regions such as Balearic Islands and Valencia.

Janet Sanz, the urban policy chief of Barcelona, feels that the recent ruling ‘clarifies’ how the city should regulate the business.


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