MONTEVIDEO – Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez announced Monday that his administration is drafting a bill to regulate the operation of Uber and providers of other mobile apps “who want to come to the country.”
“We think the path is not to prohibit, prohibit and prohibit, but rather to have legislation to make clear that any type of app offering services in the country must abide strictly by regulations, laws and rules, both provincial and national,” he said during a public Cabinet meeting in the eastern province of Paysandu.
Uber “burst in abruptly, infringing all the standards required for taxicab drivers, for example,” Vazquez said.
U.S.-based Uber, which connects passengers with drivers – who are independent contractors – through a mobile app, began operating in Uruguay in mid-November, provoking protests from cabbies.
“The nub of the issue is to make sure that whoever comes to work in the country can do so with freedom, but abiding strictly by the rules, in the same way that domestic firms operate,” the president said.
Sergio Botana, head of the association of provincial governments, told EFE that Uruguay needs to find solutions for people “who have invested their lives” in the purchase of a taxi license and in making careers as drivers only to find that “anybody” is allowed to offer passenger-transport service.
Uber operates in more than 300 cities across dozens of countries and its business model has faced court challenges in nations such as India, France, Spain and Italy.