San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica will not block Uber, says presidency minister

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As Uber rounded out its first five days in Costa Rica, President Luis Guillermo Solís’ administration has so far ruled out any executive action against the ride-hailing app.

Presidency Minister Sergio Alfaro told reporters during a press conference Tuesday that blocking Uber is not a viable solution to the controversy.

“This administration is not against technological advancement,” Alfaro told reporters.

The minister kicked the issue to the Legislative Assembly when asked if the Solís administration would take any executive action to regulate the ride-hailing service.

“It would have to be a law. At this time, the administration has not considered that possibility,” Alfaro said.

The minister said the law is clear regarding the Public Transportation Council’s exclusive right to issue concessions for transportation service. The council is part of Costa Rica’s Public Works and Transport Ministry. Alfaro said it would be “impossible” for the executive branch to issue any decree regulating Uber or creating a new category for ride providers, such as porteadores.

Traffic Police officials said Monday they have impounded two Uber vehicles for providing illegal taxi service since the company started operations.

Uber, meanwhile, celebrated its first mini-milestone, announcing Tuesday afternoon that the service has more than 17,000 registered users in Costa Rica with 25,000 requests for service since going live on Aug. 21. Uber spokeswoman Rocío Paniagua did not say how many drivers the company has in the San José area, but ramping up to meet demand appears to be a struggle for the company. Many users who so far have requested a ride receive a “no cars available” message on the app.

Screen shot of Uber app on Aug. 26, 2015.

The Tico Times

This gap in Uber’s service might give a new upstart room to establish its own foothold here. Along with Easy Taxi, another ride-hailing service for red taxis, the Spanish company Taxible announced it would start offering its own taxi service on Sept. 1. According to the news website, the app for iOS and Android operating systems allows riders to select specific services — like pet-friendly rides — and requires its drivers to wear uniforms and offer credit and debit card service, among others. The company already has 180 red taxis signed up.

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Troy WR

Just imagion the effect of 20% of the taxi profits leaving Costa Rica to Uber who will create a monopoly putting businesses out of work. How does this effect the economy? How is this helping people in Costa Rica?

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You are exactly correct. This is another disaster in effect. I find it interesting that at the very time period that anti-trust laws quit being enforced, also coincides with the rise of monopolizing a drug war for profit. Think about it…

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Troy WR

It appears that common sense and people who know about economics are getting rare these days…It is what is wrong with the whole world.. Machines are rapidly replacing humans like for instance the auto industry.. Robotics and efficiency was supposed to keep the price of automobiles inexpensive but it was the opposite..They went up in price and thousands of people lost their jobs.. Corporations like Ebay and Amazon had a devastating effect on small business owners who lease office spaces to sell retail merchandise…Now cites have lots of vacant buildings. Again many people lost their businesses and jobs.. Now we have Uber who is taking away jobs from taxi drivers and their companies….There are already too many taxis in San Jose and they are all competing for customers. Some are starving so bad they take customers the long way to raise the meter higher so they can make more money.. Uber charges their drivers 20%…So what does this mean? It means that a worldwide company is making 20% that local economies were getting..and taxi drivers are going to have to go to work for Uber and the taxi businesses that were stimulating the local economy are going to be phased out of existence.. People fail to realize that buying from your local businesses is what makes the economy work. Its all the small businesses that create a good economy..The more these huge monopolies are created, the more the whole world economy gets worse, not to mention the local economies…

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