“Taxi licenses have a price that has been increasing and de facto has turned into a way to pay for a taxi driver’s retirement — that’s undeniable,” said Sandra Sieber, a professor of information systems at Barcelona-based IESE Business School.
For the customer, that often means a less-than-optimal service, according to the regulator — which is just what firms like Uber Technologies Inc. and Cabify want to hear.
Rules limiting vehicle numbers, prices and the activities of such ride-hailing services mean that the more than 10,500 taxi license holders in the Barcelona metropolitan area operate in a near-monopoly environment that cost consumers at least 61 million euros last year, the regulator says.
“The cost of the taxi license in the secondary market is the most clear evidence of how the regulatory monopoly income generated by restrictive rules that limit entry and restrict competition in prices, quality and innovation transfers income from society to the established operators in the taxi market,” CNMC said in its report.
Prices for new cab licenses in other Spanish cities provide a sense of the mismatch between the primary and secondary markets, the report said. The Andalusian city of Cordoba issued some new permits in 2012 for 457 euros […]