Taxi fares could be going down in Costa Rica.
The Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) will submit a proposal next week to lower taxi fares by ₡30 for the first kilometer and by ₡45 after that.
In what might appear contradictory, earlier this week the agency approved the first increase in fuel prices of this year.
ARESEP has to first submit the request to lower taxi fares for public consultation. Then it will be evaluated by technical staff for 10 days.
Staff will also take into consideration any objections filed during the consultation.
If approved, the taxi fare for the first kilometer would drop from ₡640 to ₡610 ($1.19 to $1.13) and for additional kilometers from ₡640 to ₡595 ($1.19 to $1.10).
Following ARESEP’s announcement on Thursday, leaders of the National Union of Taxi Drivers (UNT) voiced their opposition and pledged to demonstrate in coming days.
Rubén Vargas Campos, Secretary General of the taxi drivers’ union, said the union would not accept the fare reduction. He said current fares are already lower than they should be.
“According to our calculations, fares for the first kilometer currently should be at some ₡1,000 ($1.85) while additional kilometers should cost at least ₡700 ($1.30),” Vargas said.
Drivers argue that if the fare reduction gets approved, ARESEP should also lower the annual taxi permit fee, which currently costs ₡100,000 (some $185).
Vargas said Friday morning that the union was preparing to send ARESEP a document outlining its opposition.
“And we are getting ready to take our protest to the streets,” Vargas added.
ARESEP’s proposal also includes reductions for all taxi services in the country, including rural taxis and those for disabled persons. Fares for the first kilometer of special taxi services would also decrease from ₡640 to ₡610. But the price for additional kilometers would vary depending on the type of service.
The fare beyond the first kilometer for taxis adapted for people with disabilities would drop from ₡635 to ₡605 ($1.18 to 1.12) per kilometer, while additional kilometers for taxis in rural areas would drop from ₡795 to ₡760 ($1.47 to 1.41).
Taxis providing transportation at Juan Santamaría International Airport would have to lower their fares for the first kilometer from ₡930 to ₡910 ($1.72 to $1.69). From that point the fare for extra kilometers in sedan-type taxis would drop from ₡810 to ₡770 ($1.50 to $1.43) and from ₡930 to ₡885 ($1.72 $1.64) for minivan-type taxis.
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