Madrid punishes carpooling company BlaBlaCar with a €8,800 fine

Madrid punishes carpooling company BlaBlaCar with a €8,800 fine

Can you imagine that your city’s administration bans AirBnB for not complying with specific laws? Well, that situation is not hypothetical in cities like Paris, New York or Barcelona. In the latter, the online company has been fined €30,000 by the local government for side-stepping the tourism laws. The pressure comes not only from the hospitality and hotels industry, but also probably from the city’s Council, very much concerned about the impact that uncontrolled and mass tourism is having in its residents. carpooling


BlaBlaCar logo

Something similar is what has just happened in the transpor sector, also in Spain. In this case, Madrid’s regional government has punished BlaBlaCara French online enterprise that put drivers and passengers/commuters in contact for a myriad of different routes-. As consequence, the company will have to pay €8.800 for operating as a “public transport service” without having the relevant permission and for “breaching the local transportation laws”, as Spanish newspaper ABC states. This is the first fine imposed to the company in Europe.

BlaBlaCar’s popularity in Spain was facilitated by the not very economic prices of trains and coach companies for medium and long distances, and by the excessive lenght of the journies. It’s success in Madrid, the capital and geographical centre of the country, is the result of introducing the company as a cheaper, quicker and more convenient way to travel to other point of Spain, particularly for getaways and weekends.

Araceli is a common user of this company’s service. She believes that “BlaBlaCar makes sense when you actually share the costs of the journey, not when you’re paying the driver for the whole trip plus a luxury lunch. Lately, this is what is happening. You can find excessive prices there, and in these cases, I do think they’re operating as a public transport service outside the law.”

But let’s now focus on the sustainable side of this story; in how this affects or benefits the environment. Carpooling is a fantastic idea to commute to the workplace and bury that horror scene of ‘one-person-per-car’ repeated every morning at global scale. “I feel better travelling by BlaBlaCar, as it means less people are driving their own cars and less pollution. But if I had a car, I’d use it. I know that the objective of the company doesn’t have anything to do with sustainability, anyway”, states Araceli. The idea of bannig it and the risk of this punish expanding to other cities would be a huge step backwards. In addition, car-sharing is very convenient for those whose destinations aren’t easily reachable by public transport, or those who need to take different buses or trains to arrive wherever they go.


Picture by Cliker Free Vector Images

But, on the other hand, voices from the transportation industry claim that it could endanger the traditional sector in terms of service and quality. This wouldn’t be good since a bus can carry 10 times more people than a car, so that the average carbon footprint per person will be always lower travelling by this means of transport. Now it’s the turn for the Spanish coach companies to make more attractive and sustainable offers to their customers.

In any case, knowing that Madrid regional institutions have fined BlaBlaCar without considering its pros and cons regarding sustainability, but just responding to a big industry’s pressures, we’ve decided to allocate this post to the Yellow category.



Madrid’s regional government has punished BlaBlaCar, a French online for carpooling, to pay €8.800 for “breaching the local transportation laws”. This is the first fine imposed to the company in Europe.

We believe that this penalty has its bright and its dark side regarding sustainability. Carpooling is good to commute and to neutralise the trend of ‘one-person-per-car’. On the other hand, some voices claim that it could endanger the traditional sector in terms of service and quality. It must be said that a bus can carry 10 times more people than a car, meaning a lower carbon footprint per person.

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