Brazil's president says Uber costs jobs, let cities decide

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 02, 2015 2:00 PM

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff criticized ride-sharing app Uber on Wednesday for adding to unemployment, but she said each city had to decide how to deal with the service that has riled conventional taxi drivers.

Brazil's three major cities Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia have all moved to ban the mobile app developed by Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] that enables users to hail Uber drivers for rides. None of the bans has yet taken effect, with mayors holding off on approving the laws.

"Uber is complicated because it takes jobs away from people. ... It leaves taxis with less work," Rousseff said in response to a reporter's question. "It's not an easy issue. It depends on the rules of each city and state, because it is not a federal government decision," she said.

Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the capital Brasilia, lawmakers have voted to ban the unregulated services of Uber but the federal district governor vetoed the ban and set up a commission to decide what is best for the city.

In Rio, the city council proposed a new law to prohibit unregulated taxi services in a move designed to ban Uber. Mayor Eduardo Paes has not yet decided whether to sign it into law, but has said he would like to develop a rival technology for the city's taxi drivers.

More than a thousand taxi drivers protested against Uber inRio in July, blocking roads and stalling traffic during morning rush hour.

In Brazil's largest city, Sao Paulo, a vote to ban the ride-sharing app is similarly awaiting the signature of mayor Fernando Haddad.

Taxi drivers complain that Uber drivers are not properly regulated and have fewer overhead costs, giving them an unfair advantage.

(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu and Anthony Boadle; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)