Uber officially banned in Rio de Janeiro amid increasing violence toward the company's drivers

By midian182 · 12 replies
Oct 5, 2015
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  1. It seems that in some cities around the world, making a living as an Uber driver is one of the most dangerous professions a person could choose. Since the ride-hailing service launched in Brazil just over a year ago, Uber drivers have been threatened, beaten and even kidnapped by taxi drivers who accuse the company of “economic terrorism." In a move that had been under discussion for a while, Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor, Eduardo Paes, signed a bill yesterday that made the city the first in Brazil to ban Uber outright.

    Uber currently has 5000 drivers and 500,000 users in Brazil. As the company’s popularity in the country grows, so does the aggression toward its drivers by politicians and taxi drivers alike. There have been reports of violence against Uber drivers in all four of the Brazilian cities that the company operates in; taxi drivers in Brasilia attacked a private driver who they mistakenly believed to be working for Uber, while Uber drivers in Belo Horizonte have reported being threatened, followed and attacked. The violence levels reached a peak in Sao Paulo, where taxi drivers kidnapped and beat an Uber driver. The head of the city’s taxi syndicate warned council members that “Someone is going to die.”

    As is the case in many of the others cities across the world where Uber drivers are facing confrontation, the animosity stems from most taxi drivers viewing ride-hailing as an illegal transportation service and unfair competition. In Brazil, taxi drivers must contend with paperwork, exams, courses and fees before they receive their public individual transportation license. Uber and other private individual transport services, on the other hand, face no such regulations.

    After banning ride-sharing services, Rio announced that any Uber drivers ignoring the ban will face a $500 fine (the average monthly wage in the country is $678). Meanwhile, it looks as if the country’s biggest city, Sao Paulo, may follow Rio’s lead and also ban Uber; the city council has already passed legislation banning the service, but Mayor Fernando Haddad has yet to sign or veto the bill.

    Speaking about the ban, an Uber spokesperson said: “It is a sad day for Rio. To please taxi owners in the city, Mayor Paes sanctioned a completely unconstitutional bill to ban technology from the city, leaving cariocas (Rio residents) with less options to move around.” The company said it is studying possible legal actions.

    Since it started expanding its operations worldwide, an ever increasing number of cities across the globe have been forced to introduce legislation to state if Uber should be classified as a taxi firm, banned outright or, as Uber believes, classed as a communications network that connect riders and drivers, and therefore not subject to the same regulations as taxi companies.

    image credit: Frazao Production / Shutterstock

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    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2015
  2. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,645   +3,268

    Personally I like the Uber concept and although I've never used them I hope they stick around. If taxi's as we know them can't compete, tough, they go out of business then. It's a dog eat dog world we live in and nothing stays the same indefinitely.
  3. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,731   +3,749

    Fact of the matter is that taxi companies provide a low quality service for a high price while Uber provides a high quality service for a low price. If you're a cabbie upset that your team can't compete, join the other side.

    The purpose of a business is to provide value to its customers, not to serve as a cash machine for its employees and owners. The latter flows from the former. I have zero sympathy - nor evidently do many travelers and commuters - for drivers and companies that don't understand the relationship between value provided and income.
  4. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,554   +1,000

    You can't really say it provides a higher quality service when it all depends on the region you live, the drivers, the cars, etc. Besides, they don't pay the same taxes and aren't required to follow the same rules and legislation of normal taxi companies. It really is "economic terrorism"
    It makes it impossible to compete with such a service. And, no, it's not new tech. Only ignorant *****s are fooled by those pretty words. It's just a mobile taxi app that accepts online payments. It's also not "ridesharing", as they call it.
    I really think that Uber can become a good service, but when they think that they are above the law then they deserve all of the hate they are getting all across the world.
    BMfan likes this.
  5. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,731   +3,749

    It's fairly simple to determine who provides the higher quality service. People are given a choice - Uber or standard taxi - and they choose Uber. Point, set, match.

    The only terrorism is coming from the cab drivers. It isn't terrorism to be better than your competition. It is demonstrably terrorism for the lesser party to threaten the superior operator with physical violence to person and property.

    Furthermore, Uber is not operating above the law. They offer a ride sharing service, which is distinct from a taxi service. Not only do the same laws properly not apply to them, nearly every time someone challenges this, Uber strikes back in court and wins. Not only is this not above the law, it amply demonstrates why law is so important to the success of businesses.
  6. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,259   +878

    With the small difference, that governments regulate taxis, both in health of the drivers, maintenance of vehicles, documents, bla bla bla.

    One day someone will die in an Uber accident (No pun intended) and all hell will break loose, no insurance, no guarantees, bla bla bla.
    Phr3d likes this.
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,396   +3,411

    Meanwhile the Taxi Drivers are getting away with being the aggressors. If you ask me both sides need to be banned until they can work together.
  8. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,731   +3,749

    Uber and Lyft have both been involved in fatal accidents. Hell didn't break loose and both companies insurance policies covered expenses:


  9. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,554   +1,000

    Like I said, it's not ridesharing when you have contracts with the drivers and you pay for the service. It's illogical. It's 100%, by definition, a taxi company.
    And no, Uber is not better than the other service, it's just has more drivers because they flock to a company that doesn't force them to pay for regular car maintenances, for taxi licences and other huge taxes.
    What would happen if the government stopped gathering taxes for just 1 company in another market. It would create a situation where the others would have to declare bankruptcy as they would be unable to compete.

    Everybody is saying "better service". It's BS. There is no better service, it's just someone refusing to comply to local laws which gives them the monetary and legislative edge over the competition.
    For example, Uber was declared illegal in Romania this summer. They openly said that they are refusing to stop the service and the app is still available and usable months after. How arrogant can you be to do this?

    They are just simply breaking the law and trying to be smart by saying it's a "ride sharing" service, when in reality it's just another shitty taxi company. You can expect them to be sued and after a few years they will be put into jail.
  10. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,731   +3,749

    Let's do a quick comparison of Taxi Companies (TC) and Ride Sharing Services (RSS).

    TC - Owns a fleet of vehicles
    RSS - Owns no vehicles

    TC - Hires employees
    RSS - Hires contractors*

    TC - Exists for the explicit purpose of transporting commuters
    RSS - Exists for the explicit purpose of connecting drivers to commuters

    Stating that they are the same thing is demonstrably absurd. It's like saying a deer and a moose are essentially the same thing because they both have hooves, antlers, and eat plants.

    I see more comparisons and reason are in order.

    First of all, Uber does not have more drivers than taxi services. There are approximately 160,000 Uber drivers in the United States, while there are over 230,000 taxi cab drivers. 160,000 !> 230,000.

    Second, Uber drivers either own or lease their vehicles. They have to maintain their vehicles, else they break. The tax and licensing regulations are different because they are structurally, functionally, and legally different businesses. It's like the difference between the drug industry and the supplement industry. One is subject to strict FDA regulation, the other is not–because they're fundamentally different.

    Uber drivers have cleaner vehicles, charge lower rates, are more reliable, and tend to be better drivers. By most standard definitions, that's better.

    They have been sued multiple times. Each time, the courts rule that they are distinct from taxi companies and therefore not in violation of the law. Every. Single. Time.** How does one break the law when one has been judged by it to be innocent?

    *This is different in California.
    **Russia notwithstanding.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015
  11. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,645   +3,268

    That applies in certain countries. I'm in Africa and anything goes when it comes to public transport. Uber is a far, FAR better solution than the 'pile of junk' uninsured, unroadworthy minibus taxi's that kills thousands on the roads annually. I'm all for them.
  12. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Evangelist Posts: 923   +283

    So taxi drivers attack and terrorize Uber drivers and their decision is to ban Uber? Damn, that is backwards.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  13. Phr3d

    Phr3d TS Guru Posts: 398   +81

    "Uber drivers have cleaner vehicles, charge lower rates, are more reliable, and tend to be better drivers. By most standard definitions, that's better."

    Since you insist on opinions like this stated as fact, I offer the alternative:

    As there is no oversight of any kind for Uber drivers, their cars are all dirty and unkempt, mechanically dangerous and they have no or restricted insurance due to consistently poor driving records. By most standard definitions, that's worse. (oversight exists as it is nearly impossible for the average consumer to see these faults).

    I offer no reference or justification to my opinion and conclusions.

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