President Rodrigo Chaves recently announced the presentation of a Bill that will level the playing field between cab drivers and digital transportation platforms in Costa Rica.
The announcement was made in the presence of representatives from Uber, DiDi, the Minister of Transportation, and the cab drivers’ union. This proposal has been under discussion for several months and is the result of a “consensus” between cab drivers, platform workers, and the government.
According to the President, cab drivers and platform drivers must undergo a technical vehicle inspection once a year, be registered with social security, file and pay income tax, and have third-party damage policies. These regulations are already mandatory for taxi drivers, and the new proposal aims to apply the same standards to digital transportation platforms.
This announcement has been met with a positive response from both sides. Silvia Alvarado, Uber’s Public Policy Director for Costa Rica, urged legislators to carefully analyze and approve the law. She also pointed out that a modern regulation would “allow the company to continue its investment in Costa Rica.”
Similarly, Rubén Vargas, member of the National Commission of Taxi Drivers, applauded the political negotiation and asked the Legislative Assembly to respect and approve the negotiations. “To my cab driver friends, I want you to know that the moment this law is approved, you are the ones who will have the guarantee of high-quality service for users,” stated Vargas.
The announcement of this proposal comes as a relief to cab drivers, who have long protested against the unfair competition of digital transportation platforms. Cab drivers have argued that platforms like Uber and DiDi have an unfair advantage because they do not have to comply with the same regulations as traditional taxi services.
The government has recognized this issue and has been working to find a solution that benefits all parties involved. “Six months later, we have an agreement that benefits all parties. We all win, and we protected consumers,” said Chaves.
The specific details of the text that will be submitted to the Legislative Assembly are not yet known. However, the Minister of the Presidency, Natalia Díaz, announced that this project is not convened for this period of extraordinary sessions that began on Monday and will be included soon.
Overall, the announcement of this proposal is a significant step towards creating a fair and level playing field for all transportation services in Costa Rica. By holding digital transportation platforms to the same standards as traditional taxi services, the government can ensure that consumers receive high-quality and safe transportation services while also protecting the rights and interests of cab drivers.
It remains to be seen how this proposal will be received by the Legislative Assembly and what the final text of the law will look like. However, the fact that all parties involved have reached a consensus is a promising sign for the future of transportation services in Costa Rica.