QCOSTARICA – A group of taxi drivers threatened a Uber driver Saturday night, in  Dulce Nombre de La Unión de Cartago, forcing the woman off the road.

The incident was confirmed by Ronald Solis, local chief of the Fuerza Publica (police).  Solis said his officials responded to the 9-1-1 call made by the woman at 8:13pm, identifying herself as a Uber driver, but left the scene before the officials arrived.

Hogares Crea en Dulce Nombre de Tres Rios, Cartago where the incident occurred Saturday night. Photo:  Mayela Lopez, La Nacion
Hogares Crea en Dulce Nombre de Tres Rios, Cartago where the incident occurred Saturday night. Photo: Mayela Lopez, La Nacion

The official added that the incident occurred in an area with little traffic and very dark.
Although the government of Luis Guillermo Solis has said the Uber operation in the country is illegal, it reiterated that acts of violence against Uber drivers and their passengers will not be tolerated.

“On the recent attacks we make a call against such behaviour, that does not solve anything and endangers the physical integrity of life,” said a government statement.

The government has also instructed the police, working with the Policia de Transito (traffic police), to put an end to acts of violence.

“We are law-abiding, are against the violence and will not tolerate the attacks against persons working with Uber,” said the Minister of Transport, Carlos Villalta.

“Intimidation, verbal violence and physical threats is not acceptable,” added the minister.

For his part, the leader of the Movimiento Libertario (ML) party and perennial presidential candidate, Otto Guevara, blames the government for “feeding high expectations in taxi drivers into believing they can stop Uber”.

Legislator Otto Guevara is in favour of regulating or legalizing Uber
Legislator Otto Guevara is in favour of regulating or legalizing Uber

Guevara says that the expectations encourage taxi drivers to take the law into their hands, “acting violently against individuals who make a peaceful living”.

The legislator is in favour of the government regulating or legalizing the ride share service, saying the government may regulate the activity (UberX) supported by free trade agreements the country has in place with the Central America, the Dominican Republic and the United States.

Fabricio Alvarado, legislator for the Restauracion Nacional party, said taxi drivers “are definitely mistaken in their strategy”.

Legisaltor Fabricio Alvarado condems taxi drivers for using violence to stop Uber drivers
Legisaltor Fabricio Alvarado condemns taxi drivers for using violence to stop Uber drivers

On his Facebook page, Alvarado said, “violence and intimidation is never a solution. Taxis drives be careful, violence only begets more violence”.