MONTEVIDEO – Members of Uruguayan urban transportation cooperatives blocked a road in downtown Montevideo Thursday to protest the market entry of Cabify, a Spanish provider of a ride-hailing mobile app that links drivers and passengers.
The strike was promoted by the Ascot union of urban transport cooperatives to protest Cabify and similar taxi-like companies such as Uber and EasyGo.
Miguel Marrero, a member of the National Transport Workers Union, or Unot, told EFE that these ride-hailing apps were “totally illegal and illegitimate.”
“We can’t allow laws to be tailor-made for companies, but rather companies must adapt to the law,” he said.
Cabify said in a statement on Facebook that it was marking its official launch in Montevideo Thursday by offering passengers one ride free of charge from 8:00 am until midnight for trips under 200 pesos (around $7).
If the cost of that first ride is more than 200 pesos, only the excess amount will be charged to the passenger’s credit card.
Members of the transportation cooperatives parked their buses on 18 de Julio Avenue, outside the Montevideo City Hall, from 9:00 am to midday Thursday, completely cutting off traffic for three hours.
The Uruguayan transportation cooperatives Ucot and Coetc also took part in the protest.
Madrid-based Cabify operates in 10 countries (Spain, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Portugal, Brazil, Ecuador, Panama and Argentina) and more than 30 cities worldwide.