SANTIAGO – Taxi drivers in this capital mounted another protest Tuesday to press the Chilean government to ensure that ride-sharing services Uber and Cabify obey the law.
The demonstrators – organized by the National Coordinator of Independent Taxis (Conataxi) – had planned to make their way to La Moneda palace to hand President Sebastian Piñera a list of demands, but the regional administration did not authorize the procession and police prevented the caravan from getting under way.
“They are denying us our right to protest,” Claudio Morales, one of the leaders of the union – which claims to represent 10,000 drivers – told reporters, accusing authorities of ignoring violations by the app-based platforms.
“Deputy Jenny Alvarez, chair of the House Transport Commission, seems more like the platforms’ manager,” he said, accusing Piñera of displaying similar attitudes.
Morales said that the billionaire president – who a few days ago floated the idea that taxi drivers should create their own app – regards the platforms’ activity as legal and “wants to build a giant platform.”
He contends that the apps provide a way to disguise the country’s unemployment rate, as many Chileans who lose their jobs turn to driving for Uber or Cabify.
Carlos Calderon, another union leader, said that cabbies intend to intensify their protests, they have no plans to block traffic or take other actions beyond “the rule of law.”