Wednesday 27 September 2023

Costa Rica Regulatory Reiterates Only Taxis and Buses Can Provide Public Transport

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Harold Leandro is the first Uber driver to face sanctions by the regulatory authority for providing non-authorized public transport. Photo La nacion
Harold Leandro is the first Uber driver to face sanctions by the regulatory authority for providing non-authorized public transport. Photo Rafael Pacehco, La nacion

QCOSTARICA – Uber drivers are subject to a fine from ¢2.1 million to ¢4.8 million colones, says the Regulatory Authority for Public Services (Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos – Aresep), reiterating that only taxis and buses under concession of the Public Transport Council (CTP),A are permitted to provide public transport.

So far, since Uber began operations in the country last August, only one driver of the U.S. ride share company is facing sanctions.

On February 5, the Aresep opened a case against a driver Harold Leandro, caught by the Policia de Transito (Traffic Police) near the Parque de la Paz, Desamparados.

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At the time, officers say they suspected that Leandro had two women passengers in the back seat, the passengers admitting to traffic officials they called the driver through the Uber app.

“The Aresep has sufficient powers to declare the illegality of a service when: the service is not authorized, there is a carrying of passengers and it is a paid service. It is irrelevant whether the service is offered through the use of an app,” said the regulating authority by way of a press release.

With this statement, the Aresep is declaring the Uber (or any other form of public transport not authorized) as illegal and its sanctioning of offenders. Between 2011 and 2015 the Aresep there have been 83 of this type of case.

The warning comes a week after the government committed itself to taxi drivers to seek out administrative tools to combat Uber, after admitting it would be impossible to shut down the Uber app in the country.

On Wednesday, the taxi drivers union posted on the social media an ad for an online expert to advise them on the possibility of blocking the Uber app and their plan to sue the government on behalf of taxi drivers for their losses in allowing the ride share service to operate.

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