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BlaBlaCar says Spain is its third biggest market worldwide, defends its legality

Written by Jaime Novoa

As BlaBlaCar prepares itself to face a lawsuit from traditional transportation services in Spain, the company defents its legality and higlights its growth in the country.

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Rumours about a possible lawsuit against BlaBlaCar in Spain coincided with the fifth birthday of its Spanish subsidiary. The company organized at event at its headquarters in Madrid -which we didn’t attend- and shared some numbers about its performance in the country since its launch in 2010.

The company currently has 10 million users in the 14 markets it operates in, and it claims that Spain is its third biggest, following France and Germany.

BlaBlaCar didn’t specify how many of those 10 million users are in Spain, but it did say that over the past few years its user base in the country has “doubled or tripled” every year.

Some other interesting numbers:

  • 58% male users, 42% female.
  • 50% of its users are 29 or younger.
  • Most trips are over 300 kms long, which reinforces the idea that BlaBlaCar is mostly used for long distance travel.

The company also used the occasion to defend its legality in the wake of a possible lawsuit from Fenebús and Asintra, the two biggest employers’ association for bus transportation services in Spain.

BlaBlaCar claimed, once again, that its users utilize the platform without making a profit and that they “only share expenses”. “As the government said in June, sharing expenses doesn’t count as a monetary compensation due to the use of other’s people cars”, the company said.

In its fight against Uber, the Spanish government said last summer that all transportation services without a license and monetary compensation would be banned. While many at the beginning thought that the government was also referring to BlaBlaCar, it quickly denied it.

Fenebús and Asintra might argue that although BlaBlaCar’s users are not making any money using the service, the company itself is, as it charges a 5 to 15 per cent commission per passenger that books a trip. If the lawsuit is based on that fact, it will be up to the judge to decide if it’s valid or not.

For now, it seems that BlaBlaCar’s position in Spain is safe.

About the author

Jaime Novoa

Jaime Novoa is the Founder of Novobrief.

He is a technology writer turned investor at Madrid's K Fund. He was also a data analyst at Tech.eu.