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Uruguay: Taxi Unions Ban Smartphone Ride Apps, Under Investigation

By: PanAm Post Staff - May 29, 2014, 9:55 am

EspañolThe Commission for the Protection of Competition will conduct an investigation this week to determine whether the Single Taxi Union and Radio Taxi 141 violated freedom of competition by prohibiting its drivers from using apps such as Easy Taxi or SaferTaxi and punishing those who did.

Officials explained to the Uruguayan daily El Observador on Tuesday that if this is the case, then this not only would mean an “abuse of dominant position, but a concerted practice to limit competition. The measure is clearly illegal,” they said. On Monday, the head of Radio Taxi, Oscar Dourado, told Uruguayan website 180 that the union suspended drivers who used the apps for 10 days.

Taxi drivers in Uruguay are increasingly using the internet for economic convenience. While Radio Taxi charges every worker $UY1,700 (US$74) monthly to take clients by radio, mobile apps are free and only require an internet connection.

Radio Taxi announced it would develop its own app, and Dourado said: “It will be free both for the taxi drivers and the clients” and then explained that the government will provide technical support. The software, created by engineering students of Montevideo University’s School of Engineering, will become available on June 15.

Source: El Observador.