San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Taxis vs. Uber

Taxi protest against Uber snarls traffic across Costa Rica

UPDATE 1:20 p.m. Around noon, the leader of the National Taxi Drivers Forum, Gilberth Ureña, said the group ended the protest after reaching an agreement with the head of the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP), Roberto Jiménez.

Ureña said taxi industry leaders will meet again with Jiménez on Aug. 16 to hear ARESEP’s response to their petition to block the Uber app in Costa Rica.

Thousands of taxi drivers attempted to block highways and other major routes across Costa Rica Tuesday morning to demand the government crack down on ride-hailing service Uber.

Public Security Minister Gustavo Mata at around noon reported that police had arrested some 78 taxi drivers and seized 33 cars. Drivers will be charged for obstructing traffic and causing disorder on public roads.

Arrests occurred mainly east of the capital, in Curridabat and San Pedro, and also near the Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela province.

As of 10:30 a.m., traffic in front of the airport was flowing normally.

Some of those arrested will also face charges for assaulting police officers and resisting arrest, the Public Security Ministry reported.

National Police Director Juan José Andrade reported that a group of taxi drivers who resisted arrest in San Pedro caused injuries to three police officers. One of them had to be sent to a hospital after losing three teeth during a clash with protesters, he said.

Andrade estimated that the first hours of the protests would cost police some ₡80 million ($145,000) in resources and damage to police cars.

Other groups of taxi drivers clashed with police at the beginning of Florencio del Castillo Highway in Curridabat, where the Public Security Ministry had placed various squads of anti-riot officers.

A report from the Traffic Police at noon said officers fined 119 taxi drivers along various roads for obstructing passage. The report also stated that the main traffic problems were caused by groups of taxis driving at very low speeds and occupying all lanes of various major routes.

Traffic Police reports indicate that the biggest traffic jams at midmorning were along Route 1 between San José and Alajuela, Route 27 between San José and Puntarenas, on the Circunvalación, a belt route around central San José, along the Florencio del Castillo highway and Ochomogo in Cartago and on the Caldera road along the beach in Puntarenas.

President Luis Guillermo Solís is monitoring the situation with Minister Gustavo Mata and other government officials.

This is a developing story. 

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

Log in to comment

Rob Black

Police should be jailing criminals running this law-breaking tax-evading Uber scheme.

2 0
PROPEACE

The recent taxi blockade reminds me yet again how most humans are just little kids trying to act like adults. Yea, lets throw a temper tantrum and block the streets.

Lets piss off ALL OUR CUSTOMERS and ruin their day in hopes we get their business back! YEA

I bet you ANYTHING, UBER just got twice as many signups since this childish display by taxis.

BOTTOM LINE:
* UBER is what PEOPLE want and you CAN’T stop progress.

* TAXIs have refused to innovate or provide better cars or services, despite the fact they had YEARS before UBER made it here to get up to par.

* ARESEP rate fixing is yet another reason Costa Rica economy is wrecked. They tell people its to “protect the little guy” but since when have you seen a “little guy” running those rate-fixed businesses in costa rica?

* The issue is the big mess the gov made years ago trying to get rid of piratas (which didn’t work), causing taxi drivers and companies to jump through so many hoops – then its like a slap in the face to allow UBER. I think the gov should recompense and revert – open up the business – allow them to compete for pricing and quality of service! THATS CALLED CAPITALISM AND ITS GOOD FOR THE PEOPLE!

1 0
Robert Gorden

Underlying this is that all over the world local governments have tried to rig taxi markets by artificially limiting the number of licenses they allow. Municipalities typically charge a heft fee for such licenses and because they are limited in number, create a controlled market place that is unfavorable to taxi cab users.

Not only does this create a market for “pirate” cabs, which are frequently dangerous, but it makes the reselling of “legal” taxi licenses into a lucrative business.

Uber which creates a free market that self regulates, is destroying this taxi scam market all over the world, as is happening here in San Jose.

While I do feel badly for new taxi owners, (who may have paid over $100,000 for their license) whose business is now going to be destroyed, they are in the same position as those who invested in a business making harnesses for horses at the dawn of the auto age.

True capitalism is spelled R I S K. And these taxi license owners, especially the new ones are going to lose their gamble. The free market is going to win out and with it lower taxi prices along with much higher quality standards for the public.

0 0
Gary James Prouty

3000 Transit Police, and not one illegal Uber driver arrested. Wondering who is being paid with envelopes of cash.

0 0
ccdagp

Well as I stated, (For Solís to allow “Mafia Taxistas” to block public streets, would be for Taxistas to put a dress & heels on Solís and parade him around as a Mascot for Taxistas.) and asked on Aug. 5, (So will Solís wear a dress on Tuesday?) the answer is yes, and appears to be a red one at that!

Now for my next question.

Will “Solís” label Ruben Vargas as a terrorist?
The Nacion reported (7:14 am: Government suspends Governing Council on Tuesday and moves to Wednesday.).

Mafia Taxistas shut down public streets and altered the way of life for many businesses & Ticos.

Ruben Vargas is demanding Costa Rica stop Uber, or for Costa Rica to pay 70 million for each driver or else suffer the consequences, he goes on by stating he and Mafia Taxistas(Force Red) will declare war on Costa Rica if their demands are not met.

So how will Costa Rica deal with Vargas & Mafia Taxistas? Or should I ask how will Costa Rica deal with Solís when his only response is to issue tickets for 51,771 while Vargas and Mafia Taxistas(force red) are demanding 70 million for each driver!

P.s.
The Mafia Taxistas flying the Costa Rican flag on top of their taxies while blocking public streets is a clear-cut statement of who is in control.

0 0
Glonda Courtney

The team at EcoCostaRicaTravel.com stand with the taxi cab drivers ! http://ecocostaricatravel.com/blog/?p=442 our full comments in both Español and English

0 1
PROPEACE

lol shameless plug for their tourism biz – just WRONG TOPIC to support!!!

0 0
ccdagp

Wow, an organization that caters to tourist for a buck, to make a statement in support of an organization that impedes on travellers is suicide!
Thanks for your honesty, now tourists will know what there in for at Ecocostaricatravel.com

0 0
James Dyde

Well then your team are idiots.

0 0