ASUNCION – Unions representing Paraguay’s taxi drivers announced on Monday that they will mobilize this week against what they fear is the impending arrival of ride-hailing service Uber, which has already registered its trademark in the South American country.
Cab caravans are set to roll on Wednesday in Asuncion and in other important cities, including Ciudad del Este, Encarnacion, Pedro Juan Caballero and Coronel Oviedo, organizers told a press conference in the capital.
Aristides Morales, president of the Asuncion Professional Taxicab Drivers Association, said that cabbies are targeting Uber because the company’s business practices threaten their livelihoods.
“When we think that our job stability is at risk and in peril, we have the mandate to be able to organize a demonstration with our colleagues,” he said, accusing of Uber of seeking to insert itself as a middleman between drivers and passengers.
Paraguayan taxi firms can already offer riders the same benefits that Uber claims to bring, including the ability to hail a cab via an app, Morales said.
He added that thanks to the efforts of his association, the taxi fleet in Asuncion has been upgraded with new, environmentally friendly vehicles “to a degree without parallel in any other Latin American city.”
Angel Galeano, the director of a taxi co-operative, blasted Uber as “illegal and unfair competition.”
“We, the taxicab drivers, must abide by all the municipal regulations of our activities,” while Uber does not work under the same rules, he said.