Costa Rica’s private sector is urging the government of Luis Guillermo Solis to modernize and enact new legislation to allow the new techonological platforms (apps) such as Uber and Cabify, and local apps being developed to operate legally in the country.
“In the Uccaep we represent the national productive sector that operates under the formality respecting the current legislation, nevertheless, we are concerned to see that the Government is far from assuming a proactive and propositive attitude to develop legislation necessary for these type of companies, which have new technologies, and can operate under the law in Costa Rica,” said Franco Pacheco, president of the Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado (Uccaep) – the Costa Rican Union of Chambers and Associations of the Private Business Sector.
In his opinion, apps like used by Uber are a global trend and certain ‘pressure groups’, without directly mentioning the formal taxis, have mounted a persecution against Uber drivers, that the only thing they are looking for is a source of income due to the lack of job options in the country.
“We urge the government to allow Costa Rica to advance in the use of new technological tools, trying to respect the right that must prevail that users and consumers can freely choose the type of service they want to hire,” said Pacheco.
In Costa Rica, most of Uber the drivers interviewed by the Q in the last few weeks, drive for the international company to supplement their income: some driving only a few hours a day, other picking up fares on their way to and from work. A number of drivers have made being an Uber driver a full time job.
By order of the central government, the Policia de Transito (traffic police) has been cracking down on Uber drivers, fining and confiscating license plates (traffic officials are not permitted to confiscate the vehicle) wherever they can.
On Thursday last, the Ministry of the Economy threatened local businesses to stop the practice of promoting the use of Uber to attract business, ordering a number of business to provide an affidavit of their breaking of promotional ties with Uber or face hefty fines.
However, the government’s focus has been solely on Uber, which has earned the ire of taxi drivers since its first days in Costa Rica, in August of 2015.