With strong tone and strict form, the President of the Republic, Luis Guillermo Solis, warned on Friday that he will not tolerate taxi driver blockades and that if necessary, he will use all legal means and security forces to ensure the free movement of traffic.
The President was referring to the announcement made by taxi drivers, who are planning road blockades on Tuesday, August 9th, starting at 5 in the morning. The blockades would be in protest against the digital platform Uber.
Solis emphasized that there is no justification for the protest, as the channels for dialogue are open; in addition, he said that it is not the time for such displays, as the security forces are addressing critical situations on both borders, referring to the influx of irregular migrants.
The President expressed concern about the risk that the protest becomes violent. He pointed out that it is has come to his knowledge that some taxi drivers plan to use petrol bombs.
Given the above, the President insisted that the necessary measures to deal with the taxi drivers will be taken and those responsible for generating it “must face the consequences.”
The spokesman for the National Union of Taxi Drivers, Ruben Vargas, defended the protest movement and stressed that it is a “national” fight, while ruling out any manifestation of violence: “The only bombs we are going to bring are the guanacastecas (referring to the …)”
The malaise of the taxi drivers derives from the operation of the private transport service Uber, which has operated in the country since August 2015. Carriers requested that the application that manages the operation be blocked, a request that has not been heeded by the Government, despite the fact that the service they offer has been qualified as “illegal” and drivers can be punished by Traffic Police.
In fact, in January of this year the Government rejected a petition by the Taxi Driver Union to block Uber in the country, on the grounds that it would be an act of censorship of the Internet, a fact that they considered unacceptable in a democracy.
If the taxi drivers follow through with the blockade, expect even larger traffic jams than normal. And if you think you can turn to Uber to get you out of this mess, think again – Uber prices increase up to 80% during taxi driver protests.