Technology

Colombian Congress has two projects to regulate mobility apps

This path to regulation did not please Uber, which announced its departure from the country from February 1st

A driver holds the smartphone with Uber app
Photo: Jair Fonseca/Shutterstock
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  • Didi, Cabify, and the Colombian Beat made themselves available to participate in the discussions;
  • Uber, however, told the newspaper that if the only path chosen is the legislative one, then the company will not operate in Colombia.

The Colombian Congress has two bills in discussion for the regulation of mobility platforms in the country. Both congressmen and the Executive power want to come up with a solution for the car sharing apps by March, but that did not please Uber, which announced its departure from the country from February 1st.

According to La Republica newspaper, the first project (292/2019), which has the support of the country’s Executive branch, recognizes the provision of private transportation services through digital platforms, with the creation of a national register for vehicles used in these services as well as specific policies and obligations. This project, headed by Mauricio Toro (Partido Verde), Katherine Miranda (Partido Verde), Edwin Ballesteros (Centro Democrático) and Andrés García Zuccardi (La U), also provides that the platforms must contribute with 1% of the value of each ride to a fund that would finance the gradual dismantling of taxi quota allocation in the country.

Senator Rodrigo Lara’s second bill (Cambio Radical) has broader applicability to digital platforms. It is not only limited to transport services, but also proposes social security for workers on technology platforms and regulates digital work, which covers other types of applications.

Both Congress and the government have pledged to find a single way to regulate platforms by March. Didi, Cabify, and the Colombian Beat made themselves available to participate in the discussions.

Uber, which has 17 more days of operation in the country, however, told the newspaper that if the only path chosen is the legislative one, then the company will not operate in Colombia.

In December, the Colombian Superintendency of Industry and Commerce ordered Uber to suspend its operation in Colombia by settling a dispute between the US multinational and a company linked to a local taxi company.

According to El País, the ruling against Uber for unfair competition and irregular operation of the individual public transport service came after Cotech SA, which supplies communications technology to a Colombian taxi company, sued Uber Technologies.

In practice, the company was penalized by a Colombian legal contradiction: the operation of the app is allowed by the Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies, but the provision of individual transportation service is considered illegal.

The company itself pointed out this contradiction in a statement: “Uber respects the law and the decisions issued by the authorities. However, decisions like this, also respond to the absence of regulation of collaborative mobility services through technological platforms in Colombia.”