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What´s Next for UBER in Costa Rica?

BA37D41EFCUBER has been operating in Costa Rica for one year. Yes, one year! Despite the fact that many want to see it come to a close. Others, have tried to block the app. And yet, others have reacted with violence against UBER drivers. The business is still running and becoming stronger.

Humber Pacheco, UBER manager in Costa Rica, gave and interview to La Republica, which we are summarizing here.

One of the major improvements UBER has accomplished in Costa Rica, is the opportunity to build small businesses. Some car owners, started with one car but now have several cars operating the business. They stablish schedules and split income with drivers. So, UBER is becoming a job source for those who cannot afford a new car, but are needing a job. Humberto Pacheco, says some of these partners are contacting each other through Facebook Pages and other marketing venues.

However, some drivers complain that their earnings are not as high as it was one year ago. According to Pacheco, this makes sense because the demand at the beginning was much higher than expected. Also, there are a lot more UBER drivers in Costa Rica today than there was one year ago. Despite that, UBER Costa Rica is not planning to limit the number of affiliated drivers or cars that are involved in the business.

Pacheco was clear to specify what UBER goal is. The company is not trying to compete with the official taxi drivers. The company is trying to offer a solution for people not to use their personal car in a regular basis. It is also trying to help the country in reducing the carbon dioxide emissions and reduce the amount of cars that are out on the street every day; and in that way, helping reduce traffic jams in the Central Valley.

One of the main concerns is that, UBER drivers who are working for another UBER Partner in Costa Rica will be exploited, and this will create a similar situation as what happens with taxi drivers in Costa Rica today. However, Pacheco did not offer much details about that and rather said that the market will accommodate itself, and that the laws of offer and demand will dictate what happens in the UBER “labor market”.

The last question was related to government regulation. As of today, UBER is not regulated by any government laws in Costa Rica. Pacheco, said they are open to government regulation because they are a legal company, but that any regulation should always be created to benefit the final consumer and not any company or group.

Uber in Costa Rica, Taxi Drivers Protested, Uber Offered Free Rides

Uber Costa RicaUber, 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.

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