Uber in Ibiza? Only a Matter of Time

The taxi situation in Ibiza is always a major talking point and like all businesses there are good and bad stories from most of us.

One of the biggest problems I encounter in my villa rental business is the taxis unwillingness to go to country villas or to do anything that isn’t straightforward especially if the location is off the beaten track.

I encountered this personally after an August party when I advised my guests to take the 5 minute stroll at the end of the night to the local sports centre and call a taxi, I ended up accompanying them and after calling the Radio Taxi service several times was told that this ‘wasn’t a location in our system’. This is the largest sports complex in San Antonio and next to 3 schools? If this isn’t on their route then what is?

Is it laziness, greed, inefficiency or always taking the easy option and is it any wonder that the ‘pirate’ taxi market and concierge minibus business is booming but then again it would be when that becomes the only option for a large segment of the Ibiza market.

Over the summer when I visited the breathtaking city of Moscow for the World Cup semi final (which I’m still in denial about btw) I was advised by a good friend to download the ‘Gett’ taxi app. This service is similar to Uber and the other technology based taxi services.

Having lived on Ibiza for more years than I care to mention (and therefore living a sheltered life) I hadn’t come across anything quite like it, I know I sound like a small island country bumpkin so please forgive me all you people who use these services on a daily basis in your busy city lives but I was spellbound.

You open the app on your smartphone, digitally hail a cab at an agreeable price then watch on the map as the taxi in the form of a blue dot makes it’s way to you. You have the name and telephone number of the driver, the make and model of the car and it’s licence plate number. When it comes to providing transparent information it doesn’t get any clearer or accountable than that. And here is the best bit – no funds are changed hands as the payment is via pre authorised credit card. You don’t even have to speak to the driver if you don’t want to which isn’t very polite but is always an option.

Let’s compare that to me and my friends standing next to the biggest sports centre in San Antonio at 2am on a busy August morning fruitlessly ringing a taxi service that doesn’t speak their language only to be told (after being on hold for 10 minutes) that the main road we are standing on is ‘not on their route’. It’s like comparing a super computer to an abacus.

Of all the places I have travelled to in the world I have never known a destination more than Ibiza that needs this Uber-type service and flexibility for it’s taxi service.

But as usual the taxi drivers union and the transport companies and the other self serving cartels continue to block any advancements such as this so they can protect their patch of the market whilst the majority of their members cherry pick the jobs they can be bothered to do.

All the while the clients in an Ibiza country villa or a more remote location continue to ring a number in the vain hope that when their call is eventually answered the person on the end of the line can firstly communicate with them and then provide them the courtesy of sending an over priced vehicle to move them safely from A to B.

Uber, Gett and other similar taxi services have revolutionised the way people travel and whether the cartels like it or not it’s only a matter of time until this type of service is available on the White Isle. Ibiza always catches up in the end so let’s hope it’s not too far away but in the meantime keep ringing that number that you scribbled down on a piece of paper and keep taking those Spanish lessons.

Author: Martin Makepeace

Englishman living and working in Ibiza since 1991. Entrepreneur with a passion for villas, boats, sunsets and San Antonio. Read my blogs, listen to my podcasts and catch me on Radio One Mallorca every Tuesday morning.

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