By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – New rules for passenger transport applications, such as Uber, Cabify and 99Taxi begin on Wednesday (January 10th) in the city of São Paulo. Among the new requirements are that drivers undergo a training course and obtain certification.

Transportation services, such as Uber, must follow new rules in São Paulo city as of today, photo by Mark Warner/Flickr Creative Commons License.

Other key regulations are that that vehicles be licensed in the city of São Paulo and undergo an annual inspection, and that vehicles are less than seven years old.

“The main objective is to improve the safety of passengers using ride-hailing apps and of the drivers themselves,” stated municipal secretary of Mobility and Transport, Sérgio Avelleda, during a press conference last week.

The official said that before, these vehicles were not subject to annual inspection by authorities, like regular taxis were, “This is a way to ensure their (vehicles) are in good state of conservation.”

Secretary Avelleda says the training course will ensure drivers are qualified to drive around passengers, ‘improving the safety and quality of services’.

The technology companies, however, complain about the new requirement. “We all want more quality and more safety for the city of São Paulo. But the only thing that excessive bureaucracy does is limit the advance of innovation and modernity,” argues Uber in its social media websites.

According to the largest transportation service technology app in the world, the bureaucracy involved in the new requirements will lead to a decrease in potential drivers.

“People will have to wait a long time to have an alternative to make money and many will give up driving, especially those who drive in their spare time to supplement the income,” stated the company in a press release, adding that the new rules do not necessarily mean more security to passengers.

For Silvia Lima, however, who frequently uses Uber and Cabify to get around the city, the new rules may be a burden at the beginning, but will eventually benefit passengers. “I’ve ridden in vehicles with no air conditioning in the middle of the summer and driven by motorists who were terrible, rude drivers, with no apparent patience to transport people all day long.”

Officials say after an initial ten-day grace period, drivers caught in breach of the new rules may have the vehicle seized by São Paulo city’s Department of Public Transportation.

Companies whose drivers do not adhere to the rules will be subject to fines, suspension and even permanent ineligibility to render services.

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