Colombia’s national government plans to within weeks shut down all operations of taxi service Uber that continues to operate in the country in spite of being banned over a tax and labor dispute.
The country’s vice-Transport Minister, Alejandro Maya, announced that he is defining “a judicial strategy” to “shut down definitely” illegal services like Uber, which was banned in Colombia in June but has continued its operations.
How the Transport Minister plans to effectively shut down Uber will be a legal stretch.
The Information and Technology Ministry told newspaper El Tiempo that “Colombian law provides for the principle of net neutrality, and no application can be blocked, with the exception of those dedicated to child pornography.”
Consequently, the Transport Ministry can’t block the app and would have to target the cars used by Uber or those in them.
According to the Colombian government, Uber is illegal because it has failed to timely register as a company, pay taxes and abide to labor laws.
However, Uber insists the government is infringing on consumer rights by protecting the traditional taxi industry and its drivers, who are furious at the competition.
The Colombian branch of the transport service responded saying that “progress is only possible through change and involves defending what is best for citizens. The right of Colombians to secure and reliable transportation alternatives as well as flexible income opportunities, is protected by the Colombian Constitution.”
Uber can count on support from consumers as many Colombians, particularly in the capital Bogota, have long complained about the price and quality of the country’s taxi services.
Many claim more expensive, unpredictable prices and rude drivers from traditional taxis, which Uber weeds out through its rating system.
Uber is available in 17 cities across Colombia, with 30,000 drivers, and over 450,000 users.