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Uber announces third Latin American support center in Bogota despite controversy

This post is also available in: esEspañol (Spanish)

Contxto – In the face of ongoing debate, Uber is still planning to launch its third Latin American support center in Bogota, Colombia, according to recent reports.

In Summary

The new facility will cost US$40 million to “give specialized support in services and security to users, partner drivers and partner deliverers for the applications Uber and Uber Eats in Latin America.” It will reportedly be built over the next five years.

This business move will also create 600 potential jobs. At the same time, however, the Ministry of Transportation Angela Maria Orozco calls Uber illegal due to lack of certification.

According to her, Uber is “illegal in the sense that neither the platform is authorized or the transportion service is registered and approved by the Ministry of Transportation.”

Taxi drivers also accuse the app of ruining their livelihoods while ignoring tax and labor regulations.

In-Depth

On the flipside, many end up working for Uber due to the country’s unemployment rate. Individual car owners are still signing up in spite of the government’s not upholding the law. Long story short – Uber continues to grow in popularity in spite of the proposals set against it.

Uber recently stated that it hopes to engage in dialogues with the Colombian government to create regulations. Some authorities threaten to suspend drivers’ licenses for up to 25 years if caught working on the platform. Nonetheless, clients, drivers and government officials allegedly ignore this facet.  

Uber must register as an official taxi service to become legitimate in the eyes of the Colombian government. Regardless of this precarious status, some sources say “everyone” still uses the service.

Certain pros of using Uber instead of traditional taxis is that it’s safer, cheaper, and more reliable. This is especially true in Bogota where taxis are a “notoriously unreliable service.” Apparently, the English version of Uber in Colombia also ensures that your driver speaks the language.

In terms of cons, however, traditional taxi drivers are feeling the burn in an increasingly saturated market. All of this also comes as Chinese competitor Didi Chuxing recruits drivers before premiering in Bogota in the next months.

-JA

Jacob Atkins
Jacob Atkins is a journalist specializing in Latin America. He studied journalism and international relations at American University in Washington, D.C. and has previously reported from Chile, Ecuador, Haiti and Mexico. When he isn't writing he's most likely hiking or drawing.

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