Uber has managed to get back into operation in Colombia: since this Thursday (20th), the app has allowed renting a car from drivers to travel. The company spent 20 days abroad; the government claimed that it practiced unfair competition after pressure from a local taxi company.
"Our new model will allow users to rent a vehicle with a driver, under an agreement between the two parties," explains Uber in a statement to Reuters. "The application will be the point of contact that brings the two parties together to form a contract."
Uber offers five service options, including hourly rentals, economy car or extra-large vehicle. The company says it is looking for ways to add taxi drivers to the platform. About 88 thousand drivers are registered with Uber; the app is used by more than 2 million people in Colombia.
According to Associated Press, taxi unions and lawmakers doubt that car rental actually complies with local law. "It is a mockery of the law, you cannot provide public transport and say that it is a rental service," says Ernesto Sandoval, manager of a taxi company in Bogotá.
Uber provides irregular service, says government
In December 2019, the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce (SIC) – Colombian equivalent to Cade – decided that Uber violated market rules because it irregularly provided an individual public transport service. For this reason, on February 1, the company had to close its activities in the country.
A few days later, Uber said Colombia's decision caused a loss of $ 250 million and violated commitments made in a free trade agreement with the U.S. For this reason, she was considering going to an international arbitration court. The country does not yet have clear rules for individual transportation apps.
According to the AP, Colombia is the second country that receives the most foreign investment in Latin America, behind only Brazil. Technology companies believe that local laws are out of date and can threaten the interest of foreign companies.