A year after Uber’s return to the country, what happened?
A year ago, Colombia experienced the rapid return to the country of Uber, after his departure for 20 days due to the failure of the Superintendency of Industry and Commerce, which determined that the platform incurred unfair competition, specifically due to customer deviation.
The platform, which arrived in Colombia in October 2013 and has since fought a long battle over the legality of its service, decided to resume operations through a change in its business model.
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From February 20, 2020, Uber works through a system of car rental contracts, where users are the tenants and drivers are the lessors. This also establishes that the application is a provider of technology services, therefore it does not offer transport services.
The company indicated that they are a contact platform, where an individual can rent a vehicle for hours and trips. For this, five categories of services were created: Uber for hours, UberYa, Uber Economic, Uber Comfort and Uber XL.
Among the changes with their return to the country, it was established in the contract that presented the app that passengers have the same control over the vehicle as the driver has. Therefore, the user can determine the route, the destination, the stops they want to make, taking into account that they must return the car in the state in which it was received.
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In addition, the lessee must respond, if applicable, for attributable causes such as fines or immobilization of the vehicle, among other aspects.
Since its arrival in 2013, the company has had 600,000 affiliated drivers and since their return in February 2020, 62 percent of them have used the application again. Likewise, 330,000 people have used the platform’s services since the pandemic began.
Marcela Torres, general manager of Uber in the country, assured that this model of tenants and lessors with which the application now operates in the country “has been well received by users” and demonstrates the platform’s interest in continuing in the market Colombian.
“We are committed to the country and we want to be here and a sample of that is all we have done to innovate and stay active. That option we found was an option that allowed us to return very quickly. That was the same as a project that was managed from the outside, not from Colombia, but from the platform and we have done very well “Torres noted.
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Likewise, George Gordon, general director of Uber in Latin America, indicated that one of the key points in Colombia for the app is to continue advancing the bills that seek to create a regulatory framework for this type of platform.
Gordon said that the company has sought to maintain a dialogue with all the actors involved in this legislation, taking into account that it must “build a modern regulatory framework.”
“People are clearly calling for modern and advanced regulation. We believe in working together with the government, in developing this type of regulation”, He assured.
How is the legislation progressing?
With the temporary exit of Uber in Colombia, the need to have legislation that establishes the rules of the game in the technological platforms that are related to mobility services.
Since June 2020, different initiatives have been filed in the House of Representatives, from different political parties and that contemplate various parameters of how this type of application should operate.
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Among these are Bill 003 of 2020, Bill 174 of 2020, Bill 185 of 2020, Bill 199 of 2020, Bill 242 of 2020 and Bill 406 of 2020 .
Finally, at the end of last year, the House of Representatives asked the Sixth Committee of this legislative cell to unify Through a presentation on the aforementioned projects, which led to a positive presentation on December 16 for the first debate of Bill 003 of 2020, accumulated with 174, 185, 199, 242 and 406.
This, after a hearing was held between October and November, in which taxi driver associations, partners and driver users, mobility platforms and taxi drivers participated.
Uber said that this is “an important advance for the country in its commitment to innovation and an important signal for the hundreds of thousands of people who, in such difficult times, generate additional profits through this alternative. The way forward is long, but the step that Congress took in December is a sign of a frank willingness to recognize these new realities. “
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So far, the presentation establishes that the category of collaborative mobility service in a private vehicle is created and regulated by technological platforms. In addition, tariff freedom measures are established, taking into account market demand and a dynamic tariff. In addition, it is determined that the passenger must know the suggested price for the service before accepting it, calculated by means of an algorithm considering variables such as time, traffic, weather, length of the journey, among others.
The project also adds that the Superintendency of Transportation, the Ministry of ICT and the Ministry of Transportation will act as surveillance and control entities in this new category.
In addition, minimum conditions are contemplated for the operation, such as registration in the RUNT, background checks and a maximum age of 10 years for the vehicles and that the drivers do not provide the service for more than eight hours uninterrupted.
The initiative proposes the creation of a fund for mobility and infrastructure, which corresponds to 1 percent of the total collection of travel intermediated by the applications.
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Drivers must have a B1 license, which must be renewed every three years and the insurance requirement on the platforms.
On the other hand, there will no longer be taxis and A compensation plan is contemplated for people who have investments under this figure. Likewise, the use of a shared car in the taxi is allowed.
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