Sunday 16 May 2021

Taxi drivers to trade their “Maria” for “Batsë”

Some five thousand taxi drivers had been working in association with the national app OMNi, but the Aresep said the service is not authorized

QCOSTARICA – The next time you get into an official (red) taxi you may be surprised the driver will no longer have the “María” (taxi meter) but use a mobile app, similar to the one used DiDi and Uber.

The Consejo de Transporte Público (CTP) – Public Transport Council –  is getting ready to officially launch “Batsë“, a development it contracted to provide the “fuerza roja” (red force as the official taxis are known in Costa Rica) with a modern platform to bill trips.

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To do this, they call the taxi drivers to download the mobile app and register on the Bätse platform, which means red in the Cabécar (an indigenous people of Costa Rica) language.

Once launched, the passenger could choose whether the taxi driver uses the “Maria” or the mobile application.

At the moment taxi drivers and cooperatives are in a training period, although the information about de Bätse is already on the CTP website and on the CTP’s Facebook page.

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The CTP is expected to make a formal announcement and official launch of the application in the near future.

“The law establishes that every concessionaire of the paid transport service of people in the taxi mode must provide the vehicle with a measurement system in perfect working order, which allows the user to know exactly the amount to be paid according to the recognized distance traveled,” highlighted Edward Araya, head of the public services regulatory authority, the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos (Aresep).

“This system must be authorized by the Council and periodically reviewed by this entity to verify that the rates set by the Authority are being observed. The technical and operational conditions of the measurement system, as well as its location, will be regulated by the regulations of this law. Failure to comply with the provisions will be sanctioned by the Administration, according to the ordinary procedure of the General Law of Public Administration,” he explained.

More than five thousand red taxi drivers have already been working in association with the national app OMNi, however, the Aresep determined that the only way authorized by the same CTP to charge a taxi trip is through the Maria, so until that has changed, taxi drivers risk a fine or even lose the concession.


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