SAN SALVADOR – Hundreds of taxi drivers marched on Monday along San Salvador’s main streets, demanding that Congress reject a proposal to allow ride-hailing service Uber and similar companies to operate in El Salvador.
“We ask lawmakers to ditch the proposal because there are enough of us to cover passengers’ demand,” Joaquin Cortes, a representative of the taxi drivers’ organizations, told reporters.
The proposed legal reforms would leave at least 7,000 drivers unemployed and, according to Cortes, all his colleagues have experienced a drop in income since Uber began operating in the country.
“It is not possible to compete” with Uber since taxi drivers approved by the Transportation Authority (VMT) must pay for emissions tests, taxes and all required permits, Cortes said.
Jose Navas, president of the Salvadoran Association of Licensed Taxi Drivers (ASTA), told EFE that the legal reform was backed by the two largest parties in Congress, the governing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) and the opposition National Republican Alliance (ARENA).
Nearly 300 taxi drivers gathered at Divino Salvador del Mundo square and drove in caravan to Congress, where their representatives met with members of the Public Services Committee, which is considering the legislation.
Uber began operating in El Salvador in May 2017.