Uber may face legal challenges in Brazil

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

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  • "Safety grounds"

    aka until government gets a cut of the money it's banned
    • Do

      Uber ensure the drivers all have licences? That they have public transportation insurance? That the vehicles are regularly inspected (weekly in most place)? That the meters are correctly calibrated? That the drivers aren't criminals?

      And all of the other checks that are put in place for anybody else plying for hire?
      • No

        Of course they don't. The whole Uber business model is a thicket of undecided court decisions... undecided because they haven't come up yet. If Joe Blow decides to make a buck on the side providing rides via Uber, but he doesn't tell his auto insurance company that his car is now a vehicle for hire, is his insurance company liable if people get hurt or property is damaged in an accident? I don't think anybody knows, but we know which way the insurance company will fight. Does Joe expose himself to criminal prosecution for operating a public conveyance without a license? That might be a slap on the wrist if he's caught speeding, but if somebody dies in his car because Joe ran off the road...

        And then there's the issue of how rapidly the personal injury attorneys could put Uber out of business if they are found to have facilitated something that got somebody killed.

        The whole thing is a bad idea.
        Robert Hahn
        • uber covers a million in the US as long as you're online

          How do you people get to the point where you are terrirfied to work and make money with your own property without governments ok(as if its any of there business at all), what a bunch of slaves.
          • Because

            such activity was made illegal decades ago in order to protect the citizens.

            In most countries in Europe there are laws about how private hire vehicles are allowed to operate - they must have business insurance, the drivers must be checked - no psychological problems, no convictions etc - the cars must be checked by an independent body, the vehicle must carry a calibrated meter, which is regularly checked, so that passengers cannot be ripped off.

            In certain places, like London, the drivers have to be able to get anywhere without a navigation system and know all the major attractions - "the Knowledge".

            Why should Uber and similar services be allowed to ignore these safety regulation and put their passengers at risk?

            If the drivers registered themselves legally and guarantee that they are as safe as registered taxis, then there would be no problems. Because they are circumventing the system and working illegally, they are being treated just like any other driver illegally plying for hire.