(Then24.com). Negotiations between the Executive Branch, taxi drivers and transport platforms They have been carried out in complete secrecy.
The Chaves Robles Administration (2022-2026) builds a bill to regulate the operation of applications that, like Uber or DiDiradically changed the landscape of passenger transport since 2015.
The negotiation between the sectors was started by Laura Ulloa Albertazzi, who served as Deputy Minister of Transport and Road Safety between May 2022 and January 2023.
The former official, who was dismissed by Minister Luis Amador at the beginning of this year, advanced with a proposal that she intended to present to the Legislative Assembly focused on “level” the playing field between the “red force” and the “apps”.
In principle, the government’s intention was to propose the project at the end of 2022. That did not happen. And, with the dismissal of Ulloa, the leadership of the negotiations it fell between Minister Amador and the new vice minister, Carlos Ávila Arquín.
In this context, the head of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT) emphasized that the negotiations are behind closed doors and without “prior” public notice due to the complexity of the issues to be discussed.
Even, the Presidential House failed to include in the daily agenda of President Rodrigo Chaves 2 meetings that he held to discuss the issue. The first on February 23 with the taxi drivers, then on March 7 with representatives of the platforms. The president has been present on those occasions.
“Why is the negotiation done behind closed doors? Because it is a difficult negotiationIt is a negotiation in which multiple aspects must be addressed. If the service is public, if the service is private, if it is going to contribute to the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) or not. If there are going to be control elements, what are those control elements? There are a number of things to talk about and when we already agree, it is when it will already be announcing that it was agreed, by mutual agreement with both parties so that both parties approve the bill to go to the (Legislative) Assembly, “said the official.
The challenge of harmonizing what the sectors want is complex, but Amador maintains that the interest is to build a project that leaves everyone satisfied. In addition, he insisted that users must have “economic” options to transport without suffering “distortion” of prices.
Once the consensual proposal is obtained, the minister points out that the deputies need to “understand” that the document to be presented is the result of a general consensus that should be approved quickly.
“What is being done to date is meet, on the one hand, with taxi drivers and, on the other hand, with those who operate platforms. Court equalization is a long and drawn-out conversation, because it doesn’t just consider service aspects. It considers aspects of the tariff, the payment of taxes to the Treasury and the insurance to the CCSS. It is a series of elements that are involved there. To date, they have been negotiating so that in the end we arrive at a project supported by both (taxi drivers and platforms) so that both can have work, but that it is done in a way that does not harm the user”, described the minister. lover.
Vice Minister Ávila told Then24.com that taxi drivers have certain concerns with the approaches exposed so far, but that is an issue that can be resolved during the process.
“As the president (Chaves) has indicated, the idea is that it be a balanced plan for both sectors. It is not our intention nor to favor or harm the actors in this process,” said Ávila, who assured that the project is “quite mature” and they will continue with the socialization process.
In the MOPT, they consider that the platforms can maintain the charging scheme through dynamic rates, according to the existing supply and demand at a given moment.
Thus, the question for the authorities lies in that taxi drivers can also adjust to this market volatility.
In 2007, the country registered 12,500 taxi concessions. Today, that number is down to about 11,000. The projection is that this trend will continue and gain strength in the coming months.
The Uber application has been operating in Costa Rica since August 2015, while DiDi began operating in November 2019. In the case of Uber, with US capital, it has almost 29,000 registered drivers and an average of 1 million customers throughout the country. .
Precisely, during a recent visit to Davos (Switzerland) to participate in meetings of the World Economic Forum, President Rodrigo Chaves confirmed that he held meetings with representatives of Uber. But, He did not detail the substantive discussions that took place.