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This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

Uber is out of Colombia! Some fun facts and serious consequences

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

Contxto – For many, January couldn’t end soon enough. But February 1, 2020 was a day the Colombian branch of Uber came to dread as of last year. That was the date that the US-based ride-hailing giant was forced to close up shop in the South American country, and many were not happy at all.

The end of an era

Props to the mobility app for making people feel so emotional about what is essentially a legalistic commercial dispute.

Uber’s community management team certainly made the best of a bad situation. The company threw out some fun facts about Uber’s six-year stint in Colombia before getting booted out. Some, I must say, were rather quirky:

  • The busiest driver moved 8,027 people
  • A single driver clearly had a bit of a thing going for one customer, moving that person from one place to another 76 times
  • The shortest trip was 80 meters; a single block’s worth
  • Meanwhile, the longest trip went from Cali to Medellín; over 460 kilometers (That must have been worth a few million COP)
  • Overall, from day-one in 2013 to hour-zero in 2019, the app conducted over 300 million trips

… for now

Second and foremost in its post-exit actions, Uber hunkered down on its citizen-customer based direct action. Colombians who open the app, instead of getting the image with the hive of busy car avatars buzzing around familiar streets, now get a message saying:

“Goodbye Colombia… Sadly the Uber app is not available in Colombia. Tell your story to those with the power to solve this issue in their hands.”

A handy link then propels the disappointed customer to make their voice heard before the pertinent Colombian authorities.

Related Article: Uber strikes back. Colombia’s ban of the ride-hailing app to be appealed

Of course, Uber is not leaving this all to people power. As we reported previously, the app is harnessing the full might of the United States of America’s Department of Commerce and will continue to appeal on the grounds that its ban violates the Free Trade Agreement Colombia has with the US.

Furthermore, we now know what additional action the app will be taking. Firstly, and most menacingly, the company has announced that it will be moving its millions in Colombian investments to other countries in the region, including Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. 

And, mind you, beyond all this doom and gloom, one tends to forget that Uber is a diversified transnational giant. 

So one must remember that there’s the fact that the company’s other cash-cow, Uber Eats, will still be functional in 12 Colombian cities.

So, don’t shed too many tears for this conglomerate titan. 

Wanna hear more? We recommend you listen to the following podcast episode: Reguladores contra emprendedores. You can find the time stamp available in the description.

Related articles: Tech and startups in Colombia!

-AG

Alejandro González Ormerod
Historian, writer, and editor from Mexico City. He was a book publisher, academic, and cheesemonger before joining Contxto. Still deciding on which Latin American country to visit next; food and fun are the main criteria.

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