Taxi drivers block streets in Buenos Aires after Uber launch

Taxi drivers block Mayo avenue during a protest against Uber in Buenos Aires on April 12, 2016
Taxi drivers block Mayo avenue during a protest against Uber in Buenos Aires on April 12, 2016

Uber, the smartphone app that connects riders and drivers, launched Tuesday in Buenos Aires without authorization, triggering protests by taxi drivers who blocked major avenues and snarled traffic.

"The Uber smartphone app will be available as of 1600 hours today Buenos Aires time, and can be downloaded at the App Store," the San Francisco-based company said on Twitter.

Although ride-hailing apps have risen rapidly to become a booming industry, they face stiff resistance from traditional taxis and bans over safety concerns and questions about legal issues including taxes.

Taxi often complain that Uber drivers do not pay for permits or taxes; Uber argues it is not a transport company like taxi firms—just an app.

"What they are doing is illegal. They are not delivering transport under existing laws," Buenos Aires chief Juan Jose Mendez told TN television.

The Argentine capital's sprawl engulfs 13 million people, and millions more commute in and out every day.

The city alone has some 38,000 taxis.

Uber does not employ drivers or own vehicles, but uses private contractors with their own cars instead, allowing them to run their own businesses.

Licensed , who must undergo hundreds of hours of training in some countries, accuse Uber of endangering their jobs by flooding the market with cheaper drivers who need only a GPS to get around.


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© 2016 AFP

Citation: Taxi drivers block streets in Buenos Aires after Uber launch (2016, April 13) retrieved 27 October 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2016-04-taxi-drivers-block-streets-buenos.html
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