MADRID (AP) — Taxi drivers in Spain's two main cities are striking to urge authorities to protect their regulated service against companies like Uber and Cabify, which offer cheaper services.

In Barcelona, taxi drivers were stopping for 12 hours Thursday, causing disruptions that were most intense at the airport and train stations.

Thousands of cabbies also blocked the main artery in Madrid for a two-hour mid-morning protest.

Representatives of the main unions complained in a letter to local authorities that the liberalization of the car-hailing market undermined the cabbies' livelihood because multinationals can afford a cheaper service.

Uber said in an e-mailed statement it understands the concerns of drivers faced "with a change of the mobility system" and that it is open to industry talks. Cabify didn't respond to requests for comment.

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