Taxis have to change with the times if they want to compete with Uber
The reality is taxis have to change with the times if they want to compete with Uber

TICO BULL – An article by Carepicha Blog tells why the formal taxis (red taxis) are their worst enemy against Uber and pretty much have lost the war against the American private car or rideshare using independent contractors (drivers).

The writer, only known as Ticoblogger, explains that in general the taxis in the country provide a good service, but, a “significant minority” are abusive to customers, driver recklessly and are the ones responsible for damaging, irreversibly, their brand.

When we flag a taxi off the streets we are prey to the unscrupulous, the minority taxi drivers using altered marias (taxi meters), taking us for a ride, literally, and at best, being rude to us.

Unfortunately, the general perception of service quality is greatly influenced by this minority.

Imaging if a franchise operation like McDonald’s would let each franchises free to run the restaurant the way they want? Look at what happened to Burger King (see Burger King Closes Operations in Costa Rica) when they didn’t tow the line with the U.S. franchisor.

Given that this minority goes uncontrolled and government regulations standards for taxis are minimal at best, do the taxis have any hope?

Uber trains its drivers to provide quality service and dropping drivers who don’t. At least that is the perception. Customers have a big say in this by providing reviews on their experiences. Try complaining to, well, I don’t know where you would file a complaint against a taxi driver. The ministry of transport? ministry of the economy? the regulatory agency? your local butcher? Oh, I know, the next taxi driver, who as it may turn out to be the cousin of the cousin of the brother of the sister-in-law of the…you get the picture.

If the taxis are to make any headway, they must stop in seeing this is a war of us against Uber, rather, adopt Uber standards, weed out the bad few and make us want to get into a red taxi, even adopt the Uber X app.

This would apply to the independent taxi drivers, as well as the cooperatives. Stand out, let the customer know you are a taxi driver that provides quality service to its customer, somehow, make it visible on the outside the taxi.

All taxis in Costa Rica must be red. But by applying some creativity it can happen.

While taxi drivers don’t get it and want to force us to use their service, the consumer will continue to use the service that best suits their needs.

Article originally appeared at

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