MONTEVIDEO – Uber, the popular ride-sharing service, received about 2,500 applications in three days from drivers in Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital.
Uber, which has clashed with taxi drivers around the world, put out a call for drivers via Twitter last week, the company’s communications manager for the Southern Cone, Soledad Lago, said.
The ride-sharing service does not have a definite date to start operating in the South American country, but Lago told local television Channel 10 that the company expected to launch the service “in the next few weeks.”
Applicants are required to own a car from model year 2008 or later with a 1,200-cc engine, four doors and air conditioning, Lago said.
Job seekers must also pass a background check that covers traffic violations, as well as police, financial and court records.
Uber will not have 2,500 drivers in Montevideo, a city of 1.3 million, but the high number of applicants indicates the company’s business model has great appeal in the capital, Lago said.
Uber, which Lago said operated in 346 cities in 64 countries, is an application that can be accessed through different digital platforms, especially smartphones, and offers a private transportation service.
The company has faced opposition in cities around the world from taxi drivers, who have staged protests as the ride-sharing company expands globally.
Uruguayan National Union of Transportation Workers, or Unott, president Jose Fazio told EFE the group was “on high alert” as Uber prepares to open for business in the country.
“We worry a lot about how (Uber) comes into the market and whether this will have an impact on formal employment,” Fazio said.
Montevideo Mayor Daniel Martinez recently said the issue had not yet been examined, but he showed some reluctance over Uber’s upcoming service launch.
Uber already operates in other big Latin American cities, such as Mexico City, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Lima and Bogota.