By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – A new dress code established by São Paulo City officials is forcing taxi drivers across the city to wear slacks, buttoned down work shirts and dress shoes when working the city streets. Women drivers are required to wear skirt or pant suits.
The city’s ordinance prohibits the wearing of sports or sleeveless shirts, shirts with logos on it, shorts, jeans and sports trousers, as are tennis shoes, men’s sandals or clogs. Also not allowed to be worn by taxi drivers on duty are jackets or hats with sports team logos on them. In luxury taxi services, a tie is also required and taxicab drivers may swap their suits for tuxedos.
Each taxicab is required to provide its passengers with chargers for cellular phones, tablets and laptops. And although fairly common in São Paulo, starting in March, taxi drivers will also be required to accept credit or debit payment for trips.
Officials recommend that taxi drivers avoid ‘more sensitive’ subjects when talking to passengers, such as discussions about football (soccer), religion and politics. “Avoid controversy or situations that cause stress in the passengers,” suggest the norm. Also prohibited are crude jokes and profane language.
The objective of the new norm, say city officials, is to raise the comfort of regular taxicabs and give passengers the same benefits as those using the Uber service. The legislation was approved at the end of December, and officials gave taxi drivers a few weeks to adapt to the new rules. Now, any taxi driver not wearing the ‘proper attire’ will be fined R$35.
Reactions by taxi drivers has been timid, with many of them not aware of the new rules. “I don’t know anything about it,” said Angelo dos Santos, a ten-year taxicab veteran. Dos Santos, wearing jeans and a regular t-shirt said he hoped officials would be lenient with fines during the first week. “I have to see if I have dress slacks, if not I’m going to have to buy some.”