BOGOTA – The technology platforms Uber and Cabify said on Monday that they respect the strike called by at least 600 taxi drivers in Bogota, who urged the authorities to regulate these companies’ services, and insisted that users should have the opportunity to choose their preferable mode of transport.
“At Uber we are promoters of living spaces where citizens have the free choice to choose how they want to travel, and we maintain our firm commitment to be a safe and reliable alternative for hundreds of citizens who need to go from place to place,” the company said in a statement.
Uber also invited its users to book its service in advance so as to arrive at their destinations on time, and urged them to use the UberPool mode to share their trips with other people and pay a lower rate.
Cabify said it respects the protest but disagrees with the violent actions that usually occur during these demonstrations, where drivers tend to show verbal and, in some cases, physical aggression.
At 4:00 am local time Monday (0900 GMT), taxi drivers in different parts of Bogota began their demonstration, making it difficult for citizens to travel to work or study.
The taxi drivers claim that Uber and Cabify have affected the transport in the city and lowered their income.
Launched in Colombia at the end of 2013, Uber has been well received in cities such as Bogota, where many users complain about the quality of the traditional taxi service.
However, on Dec. 19, 2016 the Superintendency of Ports and Transport (Supertransporte) fined Uber $114,432 for “breaching the order to cease the facilitation and promotion of the provision of unauthorized transportation services in Colombia.”
Likewise, on May 9, 2017 Supertransporte sanctioned Cabify with a fine of $166,974 for allowing “individual passenger service to be provided in unauthorized special transportation vehicles.”