(QCOSTARICA) The leading daily Spanish language newspaper, La Nacion, calls the taxi drivers that blocked the streets on Tuesday in a protest against Uber, the big losers of their own making.

Costa Rica's leading Spanish language newspaper, La Nacion, calls taxi drivers in yesterday's protest "Big Losers". Photo
Costa Rica’s leading Spanish language newspaper, La Nacion, calls taxi drivers in yesterday’s protest “Big Losers”. Photo

The blockades of major routes in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) of San Jose began shortly after 5:00am, but by noon,  it was all over. The quick and decisive action of the national police and traffic police, kept the protesters under control.

In total, some 3,000 Fuerza Publica and 300 Transito officials took part in the operations in various part of the city, from the outskirts of the international airport, to San Pedro where the most violent actions took place, to Curridabat where the majority of arrests and vehicle seizures took place.

The leader of the taxi movement, Ruben Vargas, called off the protest after hundreds gathered in front of the regulating authority offices in Guachipelin, announcing they had gotten a meeting (for next Monday) with the regulator.

Ruben Vargas, leader of the taxi drivers movement, outside the Aresep in Escazu.
Ruben Vargas, leader of the taxi drivers movement, outside the Aresep in Escazu.

However, what seems to have influenced the taxistas to cut their protest short may be the arrest of 75 taxi drivers, the seizure of 33 vehicles and the issuing of 119 traffic fines.

71 drivers of the drivers arrested with charged with minor offences (a fine basically and set free), the other four, however, face criminal charges. In addition, all have their concession permits in question and the those who had their vehicles seized face the trials and frustrations of getting them back. In all cases, all suffered economic losses.

The fact, that the government of Luis Guillermo Solis stayed firm in that there would be no dialogue if there were blockades and violence, many have also influenced the call to end the protest that was to have lasted all day.

To save face, supported by jeers of his fellow taxi driver, Vargas was adamant that, if the dialogue with the regulator doesn’t go well, they will be back, the next time “ready for war”.