BUENOS AIRES – Taxi drivers on Tuesday set tires ablaze at the central Obelisk in this capital to protest against what they called the “illegal” Uber ride-hailing service, which operates via a mobile application.
Assorted taxi drivers’ associations staged a demonstration on 9 de Julio Avenue calling for Uber to be banned from the Argentine capital.
Uber is operating “fraudulently” in cities around the country, does not comply with city ordinances, is “stealing” jobs from taxi drivers and “seems” to be doing so with the “full complicity of the government,” Marcelo Andres Boine, a member of the United Taxi Drivers of Buenos Aires, told EFE.
Boine said that organizing a demonstration on a public street and burning tires is the “only way” for taxi drivers to make their protests “viable.”
Meanwhile, Roberto Cavaro, who belongs to the same organization, said that the Uber drivers are not complying with the requirements taxi drivers must face: meeting certain qualifications, insurance for passengers, vehicular ventilation and completing a training course.
“The taxi is the only public transportation service that works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and receives no subsidies. At this point, Uber is the subsidized (service) that the city of Buenos Aires has,” he said.
“They’re not going to close down Uber no matter how much they protest because it’s a multinational. If the government really wanted to get it out of the city, it would already have done so,” one taxi driver who decided to work on Tuesday told EFE.
Last June, some 5,000 taxi drivers protested in downtown Buenos Aires calling for a complete nationwide shutdown of the mobile app-based service.
Despite the ongoing union protests in recent months, according to figures Uber provided to EFE regarding the protest, up to 550,000 people have downloaded its app in the Argentine capital and there are about 37,000 people signed up as drivers for the company.
In fact, the taxi unions emphasized that despite the lawsuits filed against the firm, Uber is continuing to operate normally and has expanded into other Argentine cities such as Rosario, Cordoba and Mendoza.