Uber, the ride-hailing service, said on Wednesday that ordinary taxi drivers in Colombia will have access to its platform, a step it has previously made in several Latin American and European nations since last year.
Uber has teamed up with TaxExpress to create Uber Taxi, which will first be accessible in Colombia’s capital Bogota and the third-largest city Cali. Uber has encountered major problems in Colombia, as it has in other countries, due to charges of unfair competition, which led to authorities ordering the firm to cease operations in 2019, a decision that was reversed by a court last year.
Ride-hailing applications are not regulated in Colombia. Drivers have faced fines and other punishments for offering ride-hailing services, as well as hostility from taxi drivers, while other firms like Didi and Cabify operate in the nation.
“Having taxis on the platform is a show of reconciliation … it offers different alternatives for users,” Marcela Torres, Uber’s general manager in Colombia, said during a virtual press conference.
Since last year, Uber Taxi has been operating in Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Spain, signaling a shift in the company’s strategy in the face of regulatory hurdles. In the second quarter, the company reported an adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization of $509 million (about Rs. 3,780 crores), up almost $150 million (roughly Rs. 1,110 crores) from the first quarter. TaxExpress general manager Jose Hernandez said, “In Colombia, we are living through changes, and searching for alternatives with former competitors is a part of that.”