QCOSTARICA | It’s early Monday morning and the massive grouping of protesting taxi drivers in San Jose, around Casa Presidencial in Zapote, has already started.
La Nacion reports that taxi drivers from areas of Guapiles, Limón, San Carlos, Palmares and Perez Zeledon have already reached the capital to join taxis from cantons of the major Gran Aera Metropolitana (GAM) – Greater Metropolitan Area of San Jose. Ruben Vargas, president of the Costa Rican Union of Taxi Drivers (UCT) said the protest will be in front of government house.
Vargas added that taxi drivers from Liberia, Guanacaste will not be in San Jose, and will protest locally.
A number of supposed taxi drivers posted on the social media a voice message threatening all taxi drivers who don’t join the protest Monday.
All major routes leading to and around Zapote are expected to be congested with the massive show of support by taxi drivers against the government’s inaction to stop Uber.
The leader of the taxi union assures that there will be no ‘tortuguismo’ (slowing down and blocking traffic), no violence by the taxi drivers. Even in Zapote, Vargas said they will keep one lane open on the road that leads to Casa Presidencial.
The taxi drivers and their union are demanding the government shut down Uber from operating in the country, the Traffic police to fine Uber drivers and meeting with the Chief Prosecutor, Jorge Chavarria.
The union wants the Prosecutor’s Office (Fiscalia) to order the banks to reveal the number of people receiving payments from the company, Uber, they considering operating illegally.
For his part, Marcelo Jenkins, the Minister of Science, Technology and Telecommunications (Micitt), dismissed the call by taxi drivers to block the Uber application in the country, saying “it is not legally viable in a democratic country”.
Besides offering transport services, Uber recently announced the opening of a “customer excellence” centre in Costa Rica, providing 300 jobs by the end of the year, to serve all of Latin America.
Umberto Pacheco, Uber manager in Costa Rica, says he hopes to have the in the coming weeks, first group of 25 people start working in the call centre, hiring groups of 25 at a time until it reaches the goal of 300. Uber says it is investing US$3.5 million dollars in the call centre.
Uber is currently operating in 367 cities, in 61 countries.