San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Move over Uber

Uber rival Cabify coming to Costa Rica

Cabify, a Spanish ride-hailing company, confirmed to The Tico Times that it will soon start offering service in Costa Rica, even though the government has already said the service, like Uber, is illegal under current legislation.

Vice Minister of Transport Sebastian Urbina repeated the government’s position on ride-hailing services Tuesday afternoon in a statement posted to Facebook.

Ruling Citizen Action Party lawmaker Franklin Corella is drafting a bill that would legalize ride-hailing and other non-profit ride-sharing services, but in the meantime, Uber and its would-be rivals remain in legal limbo. Still, Uber has been operating here since August of last year with few official repercussions.

Cabify’s pending arrival in the Costa Rican market comes not long after Uber announced a 20 percent decrease in its fares. Between traditional taxis, taxi-hailing smartphone apps, like EasyTaxi, and Uber, Cabify is the latest in an increasingly crowded field of on-demand transportation.

But that doesn’t seem to worry the $320 million valued company.

Cabify spokeswoman Vianey Campos told The Tico Times that the company still did not have specifics on its arrival but would start operating “soon.” Founded in 2011, Cabify is currently operating in 18 cities in Spain, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Colombia and Portugal.

Founded in 2011, Cabify currently operates in 18 cities in Spain, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Colombia and Portugal.

In April, Cabify raised $120 million to expand in Latin America and Europe from Tokyo-based Rakuten, an e-commerce company that also has invested in U.S. ride-hailing company Lyft. Uber, meanwhile, raised $200 million in February from Luxembourg-based investment group LetterOne (L1) for expansion in emerging markets.

TechCrunch reported that Argentina and Brazil were the first markets Cabify was eyeing in Latin America. Now Costa Rica can count itself on that list.

Contact Zach Dyer at zdyer@ticotimes.net

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