• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Taxi drivers to stage nationwide protest against Uber on Tuesday

August 5, 2016

Taxi drivers across the country will stage a national protest next Tuesday, Aug. 9 against what they said is a lack of action from the government to stop the ride-hailing service Uber, which they say is illegal.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story listed specific points where taxis are planning to gather to protest. However, we have since learned that the list is unofficial and could change. 

Since last year, taxi drivers have staged public demonstrations claiming that neither the Traffic Police nor any other government agency is doing anything to stop the operation of Uber and unlicensed taxi drivers, or piratas, as they are known in Costa Rica, as well as private chauffeurs, or porteadores.

Gilberth Ureña, leader of the National Taxi Drivers Forum, said next week’s protest aims at pressuring government officials to enforce laws banning unlicensed transport services.

“We will demand that the government stop these crooks from stealing our jobs,” he said in a video posted on the group’s Facebook page.

Taxi unions have also filed complaints against Uber before an Administrative Court in San José and before the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court.

Taxis plan to gather at strategic sites to block major highways and routes across the country. However, President Luis Guillermo Solís said Friday that blocking traffic will not be tolerated. “If there are people who try to block [roads] we will use whatever means necessary within the law to remove them and assure that they don’t impact traffic flow,” he said.

Uber gaining preference

Uber officially launched operations in Costa Rica on Aug. 21, 2015. Almost a year later, some 7,000 drivers currently are using the mobile app to provide transportation — equivalent to just over half of all taxis registered in the country.

The company also reported having 225,000 registered users, with most of them requesting transportation between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Consulting firm CID Gallup last week disclosed the results of a survey conducted in May showing that 52 percent of people here still prefer taxis. The survey found that after nine months of operations, just over one-third of the population prefers Uber over a taxi.

Uber beats taxis on a ratio of three to one among people who claimed to have used the service at least once, the study noted.

Another 9 percent prefer piratas or porteadores while 5 percent said none of the above.

Those who prefer Uber, among other reasons, cited the service’s ease of use, cheaper rates and better quality of Uber’s vehicles. They also said Uber drivers are more trustworthy.

On the flip side, those who prefer taxis said Uber drivers are not always available and said they don’t like the company having their credit card info.

The competition for taxi drivers could keep growing as Cabify, a Spanish ride-hailing company, confirmed in May that it will soon start offering service in Costa Rica.

You may be interested

Sloths in Costa Rica: 11 Little Known Facts
Costa Rica wildlife
15415 views
Costa Rica wildlife
15415 views

Sloths in Costa Rica: 11 Little Known Facts

The Tico Times - March 7, 2021

Since they were first described by naturalists in the 1700s, sloths have been misunderstood. Early scientists described the slow-moving beasts…

Surge in young migrant border arrivals poses challenge for United States
Central America
3743 views
Central America
3743 views

Surge in young migrant border arrivals poses challenge for United States

Laura BONILLA / AFP - March 6, 2021

Thousands of minors without papers are arriving at the US border with Mexico, presenting President Joe Biden with a potentially…

Six arrested in Costa Rica with 1.1 metric tons of cocaine
Costa Rica
1437 views
Costa Rica
1437 views

Six arrested in Costa Rica with 1.1 metric tons of cocaine

AFP and The Tico Times - March 6, 2021

Costa Rican authorities seized 1.1 metric tons of cocaine and detained six men — four Colombians and two Costa Ricans…