Costa Rica proposes law to legalize (and tax) ride-hailing app Uber
Uber’s questionable legal standing in Costa Rica may soon reach a resolution.
The country’s Executive Branch on Tuesday proposed a law that will allow “taxi drivers and services such as Uber to coexist simultaneously, under fair conditions of competition,” according to a press release from the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT).
“Our commitment is to progress in a system where taxis and transportation technology platforms can coexist under conditions of fair competition,” said President Carlos Alvarado.
“It is an issue that as a country we have postponed for many years, and it was time to make decisions about it.”
The bill would designate transportation platform companies such as Uber as public services. The companies would have to register with the Public Transportation Council and enact policies promoting rider safety.
Services such as Uber would be subject to a value-added tax of 13 percent. The proposal also says companies that “operated prior to the enactment of this law” would have to pay a registration fee of nearly $13,800,000, which would be earmarked to fund modernizations to Costa Rica’s public-transportation systems, including taxis.
Uber did not immediately return a request for comment, but in a September 2018 open letter to the government, the company said that “since our first day of operations in Costa Rica, Uber has sought to be part of the country’s development and to improve transportation options for Costa Ricans.”
[UPDATE: Read Uber’s response to the proposed law here.]
Taxi drivers have staged repeated protests against ride-hailing services since Uber launched operations in Costa Rica in August 2015. Uber drivers have continued to offer rides, though they often do so surreptitiously to avoid hefty fines from the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP).
This story was made possible thanks to The Tico Times 5 % Club. If only 5 percent our readers donated at least $2 a month, we’d have our operating costs covered and could focus on bringing you more original reporting from around Costa Rica. We work hard to keep our reporting independent and groundbreaking, but we can only do it with your help. Join The Tico Times 5% Club and help make stories like this one possible.
You may be interested
Costa Rica demands Maduro-accredited diplomats leave countryAFP and The Tico Times - February 16, 2019
The Costa Rican government demanded three Venezuelan diplomats accredited by President Nicolás Maduro leave the country within 60 calendar days,…
‘School of second chances’ opens in Costa RicaTodd Scala / Head of Fundraising - February 16, 2019
Kimberly Marín Jarquín, like many Costa Ricans, never received her high school degree. She stopped attending school in the 8th…
Maduro blasts US for ‘stealing’ billions and offering ‘crumbs’Maria Isabel Sanchez / AFP - February 16, 2019
President Nicolas Maduro hit out at the United States on Friday for "stealing" billions of dollars and offering "crumbs" in…