Monday 20 September 2021

Uber project would start from scratch

The legalization of Uber would start from the beginning given there is no political viability for the proposal presented by the government earlier this year

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Starting from scratch with a new bill to regulate peer-to-peer ridesharing, ride service hailing such as Uber, is the most likely scenario after almost six months of discussion in the Legislative Assembly.

There is no political viability for the proposal presented by the government earlier this year to legalize Uber

There is no political viability for the proposal presented by the government in January, as even the ruling party, the Partido Acción Ciudadana (PAC), rejected the project.

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The collection of an entrance fee to operate without a technical foundation, and the establishment of a tax on ridesharing platforms, which would serve to finance the renewal of the taxi fleet, are some of the provisions that make the current plan unviable.

The initiative also limited the number of Uber drivers to a maximum of 13,000, when there are currently more than 22,000 drivers in the country, according to the company.

This week, legislators of the Comisión de Asuntos Económicos (Economic Affairs Committee) ended the hearings and in principle, before the end of the month, the government proposal would be ‘archivada’ (archived).

“The bill has no footing in any way and its shortcomings clear. I think the best thing to do is start with a new plan (…),” said Luis Ramón Carranza, legislator for the PAC.

In that sense, the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC) would advocate creating work tables to draw up a new bill, added legislator Pablo Heriberto Abarca.

In three years of operation in the country, Uber has given work to more than 22,000 drivers and registered 738,000 users.

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In that sense, “legislators are aware that progress must be made with legislation, and the commission will have to make decisions in the coming weeks,” said Roberto Thompson, legislator of Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN).

In its effort to regulate ride-sharing companies such as Uber, the government proposed several measures:

  • Contribution of 3% on the cost of each service to the Fondo Nacional de Movilidad (National Mobility Fund)
  • The companies would be declared as a public service.  – That is the legalization of Uber and others
  • They would not be subject to the tariff regulation of Aresep.  – Not affect rates by the companies
  • They would be required to register with the Consejo de Transporte Público (Public Transportation Council).  – Subjected to government regulation
  • Total drivers would be limited to the number of taxi plates.  – Uber and others could not have more drivers than official taxis
  • They should comply with the transport regulations for people with disabilities
  • They should pay for registration 18,000 base salaries.  – Currently ¢8 billion colones or US$13 million dollars
  • Drivers would have to register as independent workers with the Caja (social security) and Hacienda (Ministry of Finance)

Source: La Republica (in Spanish)

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