Reports indicate that on November 5 Buenos Aires’ City Legislature adopted a law oriented toward discouraging the use of ride-sharing apps in the city. Drivers working for such platforms will henceforth face fines of up to 200,000 ARG (roughly 5,600 USD) and have their driving licenses suspended if they are caught or intercepted by police. Official sources in the city government stated that local authorities are willing to negotiate with Uber and other ride-sharing companies, provided they are ready to normalize their operations in accordance to regulations overseeing passenger transportation. Taxi unions opposing ride-sharing companies demonstrated outside the Legislature in the city center while the law was being debated.
This development highlights the city’s government lack of political capital, if not willingness, to antagonize taxi unions. As reported in our briefings, attacks against drivers and users of ride-sharing apps in Buenos Aires have increased significantly over recent months. These incidents are attributed to the so-called “Uber hunters” (Caza Ubers), mostly integrated by violent elements within taxi unions. Although ride-sharing apps were legalized in the Mendoza Province in late October, similar efforts in Buenos Aires are highly unlikely to yield results in the short-term. Bearing in mind the influence of taxi unions in the capital, such overtures could potentially trigger demonstrations and roadblocks in key avenues.