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First Uber Driver In Costa Rica Fined

First case of an Uber driver in Costa Rica fined for providing illegal transport

An Uber driver was fined ¢2 million colones (US$3,500) for violaing the Ley de la Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos (Aresep) – Public Services Regulatory Authority Law – for providing public transport services without a permit.

This is the first case in which an Uber driver has been sanctioned.

The Aresep said Thursday that, after a preliminary investigation, it was determined that “the Uber app(lication) is more than a technological platform because it creates an offer of paid transport service and facilitates the provision of a service.”

The entity noted that both the drivers and the owners of the vehicles can be sanctioned for the illegal service.

In a statement, the manager of Uber in Latin America, Andres Echandi said that “at all times we have maintained constant communication with the affected partner (driver), as well as the rest of the members of our self-supply community.

“At Uber we are respectful of the opinions of other sectors, but we believe it is important to achieve a consensus to define an innovative and appropriate regulation that allows the free coexistence of all forms of mobility in the country,” he said.

More Cases

Through a statement, the Aresep confirms that is investigating 30 other cases against Uber drivers and it has another 150 cases against ‘pirate taxi’ drivers.

When a driver is sanctioned under the Ley de la Aresep (Ley 7593),  for not having a concession or permit granted by the Consejo de Transporte Público (CTP) – Public Transportation Council – the fine ranges from five to ten times the value of the damage caused.

In the case of Uber, since the damage cannot be quantified, the law establishes a fine equivalent to between five and twenty base salaries of a Judicial Branch employee (between ¢2 million and ¢8 million colones).

The Process

The process of sanctioning drivers begins when a person providing the illegal service is stopped by a transit police official. The vehicle is confiscated and held by the traffic police. After a month it is automatically released to the owner with the authorization of the Aresep.

Meanwhile, an ‘administrative process’ for the collection of the fine is initiated, a process that can take months or even years, and the final collection (of the fine) will depend on whether the owner of the vehicle has been properly notified, and collection notices have been made.