Red taxis are still preferred by the majority of Costa Ricans over Uber, the ride-hailing service application. Uber’s service and way of operating has gained great popularity since then. This information was revealed by a survey developed by the Interdisciplinary Development Consultants S.A. (CID GALLUP).
Uber came to Costa Rica in August 2015. The company started accepting requests for rides before they had come to a formal agreement with the Public Works and Transport Ministry. The company could operate legally under a decision from the Comptroller General’s Office that says communities can provide their own public services, including transportation. However, MOPT warned on Facebook that drivers could be fined ₡110,000 and lose their license plates if caught driving for Uber. There was no mention of how the ministry would enforce this rule in a city where unlicensed taxis are already an everyday occurrence.
Uber has been under some scrutiny since arriving in Costa Rica, especially by taxi drivers. There were a series of demonstrations from official taxi drivers earlier in the year. Protests have been staged in front of Casa Presidencial, at President Luis Guillermo Solís’ house, along major highways, at the San Jose Administrative Court in Goicoechea, and in downtown San Jose.
“We either unite or lose our jobs. United is the only way we can defend our jobs,” the group wrote in a Facebook post. The post asks all taxi drivers to join union leaders in the legal case against Uber by signing the complaint.
Since then, there has been little done to stop the company from taking over the shuttle industry in San Jose and other parts of Costa Rica. It has become quite popular, especially with young people. Uber is a way to maneuver through the traffic jams that plague public transport in the city, but it is also adding to the number of cars on the road – which can be making the traffic jams even worse.
According to the data in the survey, 52% of Costa Ricans prefer taking a traditional taxi. Most of them live outside of the Greater Metropolitan Area. On the other hand, 34% of respondents said that Uber is their preferred shuttle service. Most of those who responded in this way were young people, who go to college or live in the Costa Rican capital of San Jose.
Three out of every four users of Uber said they prefer it above the red taxis because of the way in which they provide their shuttle service.
Factors that benefit Uber, according to the survey, are its ease of use, better vehicles, trust that the driver provides, and the price of transport, which is lower than the fixed rate for formal taxes. Comments against Uber are the lack of availability of vehicles and the fact that you have to give the company your credit card information.
The survey was done during May 2016, and it included a little over 1,200 Costa Ricans 18 years or older. It has a margin of error equal to ±2.8 points, and a level of confidence of 95%.