QCOSTARICA – A Peugeot and a Volkswagen were the first vehicles taken out of circulation by the Policia de Transito (traffic police) for providing private transport services through Uber, which began operating at 4:00pm Friday, despite the opposition by the Ministry of Transport (MOPT).
The deputy director of the traffic police, Sonia Monge, said the two vehicles were confiscated, being held at the San Sebastian impound lot, applying the same law used against the illegal informal taxis.
Monge said the Volkswagen was stopped by police in Zapote, while the Peugeot was circulating in the downtown area of San Jose, near the Parque Central.
The deputy director emphasized that at 4:20pm, six officials of the Grupo de Operaciones Especiales (GOE) – Special Operations Group of the traffic police began their patrols in fight against illegal transport in the country.
According to the depute director, Uber is just a new factor in the continuing problem.
Uber spokesperson in Costa Rica, Rocio Paniagua, said that the company will follow the same trend in the water and electricity sector where the Attorney General’s office (Procuraduria General de la República) has issued several opinions allowing self-managing communities to provide drinking water and generate electricity, not depending on the state institutions AyA and ICE.
Paniagua said the Uber service is a community (users and drivers) designed to self-sufficient or self-managed to their specific mobility needs.
Back to the confiscated vehicles. The owners of the two vehicles are now required to pay the towing and daily storage, as per the recent approved decree, and pay the respective fines.
The fine will be defined by the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos (ARESEP), regulator of public prices and services, that includes taxi and bus fares, which could range between 10% and 20% of the basic salary of a court official, currently at ¢403,400 colones monthly, setting the fine at between ¢40,300 and ¢80,600 colones.