The Madrid transport department on Monday initiated legal proceedings against car-sharing service Uber and one of the drivers in its network.
Regional authorities are accusing the company, which began serving Madrid on September 23, of operating without a license.
Last Friday was the deadline given to Uber to provide the necessary documents to prove that its activities are legal.
The US-based firm, which has expanded into 45 countries and also operates in Barcelona, faces a possible fine of €18,000 for “offering or mediating” in passenger transport without the necessary license, a department spokesman said.
The driver, who was caught at Barajas airport, faces a €6,000 fine and double that if he is caught a second time.
The driver, who was caught at Barajas airport, faces a €6,000 fine and double that if he is caught again
Taxi drivers in Madrid and Barcelona went on strike in June and July of this year to protest the arrival of Uber and other potential car-sharing services based on smartphone applications that put drivers and passengers quickly in touch with one another.
Although city transport is regulated by national law, inspections and sanctions fall under the power of regional governments. Users of the service will not be targeted, the spokesman added.
“Inspections of unlicensed vehicles will continue to be carried out, whether they operate at the airport, over the phone or through a [smartphone] application,” said the spokesman, whose department has initiated 70 such proceedings against outlaw taxi operators so far this year.
The goal, he added, was to eliminate “unfair competition” and to “guarantee passenger safety.”
“Uber’s activity can be legalized if it operates with licensed vehicles,” he added.
Last Friday, representatives of the transport department met with taxi driver associations to discuss the issue, and the regional government has also requested a meeting with the Public Works Ministry to try to find “a global solution.”