Uber announces end of services in Colombia

Elias Hubbard
January 12, 2020

Uber Technologies Inc will stop operating in Colombia at the end of this month, following a court order late previous year which the ride-hailing company on Friday called "arbitrary" and a violation of its right to due process.

Uber announced on January 11 it will cease operations in Colombia beginning February 1.

According to Uber, the decision of the SIC, which resolves a process of unfair competition that began in 2016 by Cotech (operator of Free Taxis), "goes against the Colombian legal system, violating due process and constitutional rights".

The company, in a statement, said, "We've used all our legal resources (.) to defend the two million users who choose how they move around the country and the opportunity for the 88,000 registered drivers using the app to make additional money to help sustain their families", Uber said in a statement.

In the face of criticism, the Ministry of Transportation claimed it is not against technological advancement, and said it must protect the life of users and the provision of transportation services as regulated under Colombian law. "So I am quite anxious about what happens now". Uber has repeatedly said that its drivers are properly classified as contractors.

Uber's decision to leave Colombia takes place after the company lost a lawsuit presented by a taxi company that claimed the app was illegally diverting customers away from the nation's yellow taxis, and supplying public transport without an appropriate license. "Uber has been here six years, and we haven't put taxis out of business", he said.

While the lawsuit was being investigated by the Colombian Trade Inspectorate, taxi driver unions called on President Ivan Duque's government to prevent Uber and similar apps from operating in Colombia and promised not to join a large wave of protests against the government In late November, it undermined support for Colombia's conservative president. But now Uber has thrown in the towel. The union leader also said that he would seek a ban on apps that supply electric scooters.

When Duque fought for the Colombian presidency a year ago, he announced he was promoting the growth of the tech economy. He visited Silicon Valley in May to promote the country to major technology investors such as Apple and Amazon. "There is a big contradiction" Guzman said. "The government wants foreign investment, innovation and technology, but the country's regulatory framework is ossified".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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