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QCOSTARICA – It finally happened, Uber representatives and officials of the Ministry of Transport (MOPT) met on Tuesday. But nothing changed.

In fact the MOPT used the meeting to remind Uber that the service they are providing, that began on August 21, is illegal.

The meeting, at the request of the company, was an attempt to reach some type of agreement with the government. MOPT officials had cancelled an earlier meeting that was to be held in August.

“They really did not offer anything new, the only difference is that will all the media attention surrounding the issue that they did so in our face,” said the director of the Public Transpor Council (Consejo de Transporte Público – CTP), Mario Zárate.

Attending the meeting was also the deputy minister of Transport, Sebastian Urbina and Uber’s general manager in Costa Rica, Humberto Pacheco.

“Basically they (Uber) apologized for starting operation without notifying authorities … after that they explained in a detailed way the elements of fact and law that they believe gives them the possibility of operate in the country,” added the director of CTP.

“While we understand that the technology used by Uber could be a great tool in terms of improvement of the transport service, the truth of the matter is that right now the system, in the way that it targets the operation, is absolutely illegal,” Zarate said.

Zarate was the only one to address the press after the meeting, Pacheco and Urbina decided to stay quiet.

Later, Pacheco said that there is hope of a continued “positive and constructive” dialogue.

Avoiding providing details on the number of Uber drivers fined, the director of the Policia de Transito (traffic police), Mario Caldero, explained that there is no separate record of how many fines have been issued to Uber and illegal cabs (piratas in Spanish).

The police chief said that a total of 4,260 people have been fined for providing illegal transport between January and July of this year.

Calderon added that the illegal transportof persons is governed by Article 145 of the Traffic Act (Ley de Tránsito), and all fines are made without differentiation of who or how the service is provided.