Brazil passes weaker version of mobility app bill

Drivers working for Uber and equivalent companies will have to comply with a number of rules; Lower House will give the final decision.

The Brazilian Senate approved a watered down version of a bill to regulate mobility apps like Uber after much dispute between companies and taxi driver unions.

After a meeting of party leaderships, it was decided yesterday (31) that some requests in the original proposal such as requirements for special taxi license plates and several documents required for taxis to operate, would not be applicable to drivers working under the mobility apps.

Things became so serious and a ban so likely that Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi came to Brazil to meet ministers and senior politicians at the country's capital Brasília ahead of the Senate vote.

Khosrowshahi argued that if the original text of the bill was approved, it would become impossible for Uber to operate in Brazil and that would also harm the livelihoods of about 500,000 drivers working for the company alone, without considering other popular apps such as Spanish tool Cabify and local equivalent 99.

But rules such as making drivers subject to local city authorities for licensing and taxes were maintained despite Khosrowshahi's appeal for more dialogue and promises to try and find some common ground with lawmakers.

The bill will now return to the Congress' Lower House for final approval.