Uber returns to Colombia after finding loophole to evade ban

Uber reactivated its taxi app in Colombia on Thursday, three weeks after suspending its services.

In order to comply with the law until Congress regulates taxi apps, users are asked to agree to a formal contract with the driver, hiring their services directly.

The app itself “will be the contact point that connects the two parties to agree to a contract,” Uber Colombia said in a press release.

The app was forced to change its functionality after the Superintendency for Industry and Commerce ordered Uber to suspend its services in December, claiming it was engaging in unfair competition.

The company’s attempt to pressure the government of President Ivan Duque to issue a decree that would allow the company to ignore the suspension order failed in January.

Threats to appeal the decision and sue the State before an international arbitrational commission impressed nobody.

After attempts to mobilize the public also had no effect, the company began looking for a loophole to avoid the enforcement of the suspension order.

The contract is this loophole. Now that users directly hire drivers, Uber effectively stops being a competitor of taxi companies.

The measure is likely temporary; Uber and other taxi apps are waiting for Congress to return from its three-month Christmas recess on March 16 to hopefully legislate on regulation for mobile apps providing services.

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