The ride service app, Uber, is now under fire once again, this time in Brazil.
The Sao Paulo city council voted 48-1 on Tuesday to ban the use of smartphone-based ride-sharing applications like Uber in the city. They were not the only ones, the capital city of Brasilia also followed its steps and banned it.
The decision is not final yet, because it still needs another vote and then the approval of Mayor Fernando Haddad before the city can get rid of them. In the capital, the decision goes straight to federal district Governor Rodrigo Rollemberg, he will be the one to decide if the app stays or goes.
On its Facebook page, Uber said the company “defends the right of users to choose the way they want to move about the city,” and that since the ban has not yet been enacted, it will continue “to operate normally in Sao Paulo.”
The company also said that their users in the areas mentioned have sent more than 200,000 emails to Sao Paulo city legislators telling them to vote against the prohibition and “expressing their desire to use the service.”
If it is approved, Sao Paulo Uber drivers who keep working and taking rides for the company could face a $545 fine and have their cars taken. The service took off after the World Cup and has become a popular application in the country. The service offers newer and cleaner cars than the street taxis. The regular taxi drivers are not happy that Uber drivers don’t have to pay city fees or undergo official inspections. “Because of Uber and inflation I am now earning 40 percent less than I did last year,” said Sao Paulo taxi driver Anderson Machado.
Protests and Riots
The service has caused protests and riots in some countries the last few months. Just a few days ago, France decided to ban one of its services offering low cost rides because regular taxi drivers took the streets and protested. The protest escalated to a riot and the nation was forced to ban the service right away. Like in Brazil, drivers complain that it is unfair that their drivers don’t have to pay for the costly licenses.
In Mexico, things went a little better for the company after sources said they were in the clear and could keep their service over there. The news have not been confirmed yet but this made regular taxi drivers upset and take the streets to protest against the service. Many of the angry drivers promised to hunt down the cars working for the service. Like in many countries, the service has become popular because of their clean and new cars. In Mexico, the population complains that the street taxis are in terrible condition, which has made Uber and other apps the top choices. The service costs a little more but the people prefer using the service than risking their lives in street taxis, which are known for their kidnappings and assaults. Mexican officials believe that the consumers should have a lot of options, which increases the competition and gives them better prices.