Uber may face legal challenges in Brazil

Summary:São Paulo transport authority wants the suspension of the transportation app

Transportation network Uber might face legal problems in Brazil soon as the government of São Paulo will push for the suspension of its service in Brazil's largest city.

According to the São Paulo Mayor's office, Uber allows drivers without authorization to perform services that should only be performed by taxi drivers. Uber brands itself as a rideshare and taxi network - but at the same time, it has said that it does not provide taxi services, but a platform that mediates between drivers and customers.

The São Paulo city government issues licenses to about 34,000 taxi drivers and maintains that applications that allow paid services of individual private transport without authorization to do so, as well as the required registration with the transport authority are subject to the same penalties of unlicensed drivers.

Uber lauched its service in São Paulo in June, but local authorities have only just started to make things difficult for the company: three cars have been found providing services through Uber in São Paulo last week and the drivers had to pay fines of $900 on average. Such occurrences have prompted the city government to prepare for an injunction against the California-based company.

The head of the passenger transportation department of the Secretary of Transport in the São Paulo Mayor's office, Daniel Telles, has been quoted by news portal G1 as saying that the fact private cars are getting paid to perform the service of a taxi driver also means Uber's service has nothing to do with ridesharing.

"One thing is to share a car with a colleague on your way to work and another is to offer rides all day around town. Who's got so many friends [to give rides to]? This is not ridesharing, but a paid activity," Telles said.

Uber launched in Brazil in May and started operations in Rio de Janeiro, where it faced similar issues. The company operates in 110 cities worldwide and has also faced resistance in other countries such as Germany: the app was banned in Berlin earlier this month on safety grounds.

 

Topics: Mobility, Apps, Government, Start-Ups, Travel Tech

About

Angelica Mari is ZDNet's Brazil Contributing Editor. She has relocated to Brazil, her home country, in 2011 after living and working in Europe for a decade. She started her professional life when she was 14, as a software trainer coaching executives at major Brazilian companies until the age of 17, when she started writing professionally.... Full Bio

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