By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Rio de Janeiro City Council members voted on Tuesday, August 25th on a bill which regulates the transportation of passengers in the city, banning services such as Uber, where individuals use their private automobiles to transport passengers, from city streets. The votes were overwhelmingly in favor of the bill with 43 council members for and only one against.
According to City Council President, Jorge Felippe the project was designed to benefit the city’s population, “The Council voted according to the population’s wishes to respect the law. Lawlessness is chaos. The federal law, which regulates the transport of individual passengers, establishes that this type of service should be conducted by taxi drivers. That [law] does not include apps [cellular phone applications].”
According to daily O Globo more than fifty taxis parked outside the city council building to show support for the bill while City Council members voted on the issue. Fines for non-regulated drivers rendering services will range from R$1,360 to R$2,000. Services such as Uber have been gaining clients, due to their availability and the increased prices of taxi fares in the city.
The U.S. based Uber company released a note on their website Tuesday afternoon stating that it had previously asked twice for a public hearing on the matter, but that the requests were never answered.
“By not considering the formal requests by Uber and other movements in favor of innovative solutions for urban mobility, Rio de Janeiro’s City Council has shown to be closed for any type of dialogue,” said the statement. According to company representatives until the bill is sanctioned by Rio’s Mayor, Eduardo Paes, the service will continue to operate normally. Mayor Paes has now fifteen days to approve the bill.