Thursday 16 September 2021

The Great Taxi War – 2016

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QBLOGS – The “reds” against the “orange”, the “pirates” against the deadly free lancers, yet authorized “porteadores” and all of the those listed are ganging up to attack the newest kid on the block…Uber.

Now here is a classic case of the informal organization stronger and becoming more legitimate than the formal organization. Also, the public demand for a change or “wink” in law being created to on behalf of the buying public.

It all started with the official “red” taxis on the warpath against those of the “pirates” who use their own cars which might or might not have insurance, did not pay for the “right to roam” and simply kept on driving until small, certain regulations were passed to make these drivers quasi-legitimate.

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Ergo, to open the highly regulated, controlled “red” taxi monopoly, the “pirates” operated illegally until there were just too many to be regulated. Thus equality or as a result of lax law enforcement is a textbook case of the informal organization taking over the formal organization.

Uber Is another case to challenge the monopoly or the oligopoly, of which “reds”, “orange” and “pirates” collectively oppose.

It is about monopoly, the struggle to keep it alive and healthy in Costa Rica.

CRHoy’s columnist and feature writer Edgar Espinosa said, “We recently tested a legal red taxi for a Tres Rios service to Juan Santamaria Airport; also an orange taxi to the same airport each costing 28 thousand colones and then Uber, whose total charges were 8,000 colones, all leaving at 7:00AM and taking the same identical route.”

The difference in price? Some 20,00 colones.

According to many in the executive office of this country Uber services are indeed illegal. However, there is no official notice to “shut them down” and with the exception of a very few, the cars keep on rolling.

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It must also be noted that Uber has promised Costa Rica a US$3.2 million customer service center.

Instead of waving down a “red” taxi on a rainy day, with Uber you use the application and a car is sent to you within minutes. Plus, short of carrying cash? Uber only accepts credit or debit card payment online that has a secondary value; you are not cheated.

The government has a problem to shut down Uber. By doing so it is essentially censoring the Internet which would be an international scandal since “free” press is supposedly guaranteed in Costa Rica.

What is the answer?

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In general terms, the protected, formal organization must come into this century and learn marketing as well as that dreaded concept of customer service. Pricing is an issue but even more important is comfort and knowing you will have a ride within two to five minutes.

Please. “Red” and “Orange”, grow up and “pirates” keep up the challenge until you learn how Uber functions.
<em>Note: The “orange” taxis are the official airport taxis.</em>

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Juan Sebastian Campos
An expat from the U.S., educator and writer in English and Spanish since 1978 with a doctorate in business administrations (DBA) from the United States and Germany. A feature writer for ABC News, Copley Press and the Tribune Group with emphasis on Central America.

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