In what we believe to be a move against UBER Costa Rica, Coopetico – a local taxi union out of San José – has decided to launch an app to improve its costumer service. The group announced this week that the app will be ready in two weeks and that it will help consumers request taxi services from the location they are, they could even a Tico direction and the drivers will know how to get there (we might have to write an article about a Tico direction sometime in the near future, it is actually amusing).
Coopetico has been working on the app for over a year. Phase one of the project was to test to separate platforms and making the necessary adjustments to come up with a better alternative for taxi users and drivers. The user will also be able to pay for its service with cash or debit or credit card.
Once the user request the service, he will receive confirmation containing the name of the taxi owner and a phone number to contact the owner in case there is a problem with the service or a delay with the arrival of the taxi.
The app was developed by the Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia (ESPH), and will be only available for iOS users. No android version yet. Coopetico informed that they are also offering customer service training to taxi drivers to improve the services they offer to the final consumer.
There has been much complain from the taxi drivers and owners about UBER. However, this move from the taxi group is proving that healthy competition produces better services. Taxi users in Costa Rica would have never dreamed of having apps like this or better services in Costa Rica. It looks lik, but is also helping the consumers of taxi services who won´t be using UBER.
Uber, a well-known app used to connect private drivers who offer transportation services to consumers came into Costa Rica near the end of year 2015. The entrance of the app to the happiest country in the world was not as peaceful as you would think. The official taxi drivers, red colored cars, got furious about the new services and the protest and street riots arise. Just on the first night of operations an Uber driver got ambushed by 5 official taxi drivers who wrecked his car breaking its windows and hitting it with rocks and baseball bats.
The Costa Rican government announced that the service in Costa Rica is illegal because what it offers is not contemplated nor regulated by law. However, they have said that they have no way to stop the company from offering its services or preventing the public from using it.
Last Monday February 1st, the official taxi drivers marched to the Presidential House to meet with official authorities and request that Uber gets banned from Costa Rica and that the access to the app gets blocked. Of course, the manifestation came with some disruptions like blocking main roads along the capital city and taxi drivers throwing eggs at other taxi drivers who decided to work on that day.
At the end of the meeting, the taxi drivers walked out of the Presidential House with no solution and the official authorities made no commitments and said they have no way to prevent Uber Costa Rica from operating in the country. The group of official taxi drivers said that there will be another manifestation on Monday February 8th and indicated that things could get worse if the government does not act quickly.
On the other hand Uber Costa Rica did not miss the chance to demonstrate their idea of quality services. While the official taxi drivers neglected to work on Monday, Uber Costa Rica offered a free ride up to 15.000 colones, about $30 USD for that day. No wonder who the big winner was on Monday.
According to some Uber users, the fees are lower and the service is way better than the one offered traditionally by Costa Rican taxi drivers. It is still unknown how this will unwrap but for now, taxi drivers continue to be upset about the competition and Uber continues to offer the service and growing in terms of affiliated drivers and users.