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Uber tests new rules for luxury transportation and collapses service in Panama

The Uber platform put to the test today in its application the new regulations for luxury transportation in Panama, which resulted in a substantial decrease in its service recognized by the own transnational company and criticized by the transit authorities of the Central American country.

Panama, Nov 24 (EFE). - The Uber platform put to the test today in its application the new regulation for luxury transportation in Panama, which resulted in a substantial decrease in its service recognized by the transnational company itself and criticized by the transit authorities of the Central American country.

"Very soon the requirements established in Decree 331, therefore today, November 24, we want to give you a look at how the application will work with the requirements it demands, "says a Uber statement posted on its website. Twitter account.

Uber alerted its users that as part of this "exercise" the number of vehicles available would be "significantly lower", which in social networks was reported as a "true chaos."

In addition, users could not use the service without a credit or debit card "registered in the platform as a payment method."

The platform announced that there would also be changes in waiting times and costs, "given that many driving partners will not be able to connect because they do not meet the requirements of the decree ".

The Transit and Land Transport Authority (ATTT) described in a statement today as" unnecessary and malicious "the initiative taken by the platform to test the new regulation.

The ATTT clarified that this is so "by virtue of which, the business proposal, in its initial proposals, established the payment by electronic means, as differentiating element that justified its essence, in the exclusivity of its services. "

Last November 1, Uber said that 80% of its drivers do not have the special license that Panama now requires to provide the service, which will negatively affect the waiting time of customers and the availability of vehicles.

Executive Decree 331, promulgated on 31 Last October, the Panamanian government to regulate technological transport platforms, "promotes discriminatory measures and limits the right of all citizens to choose," he said. this time the US company.

Establishes that these applications provide a "luxury" transportation service and that their drivers can only be Panamanians over 21 years of age with a license. type E1, which issues ATTT only to taxi drivers and for which it is mandatory to present criminal records.

The ATTT said today that "to date there are 157,348 drivers in the territory national that meet these requirements, while reminding that the decree "established a period of 60 days, for companies, vehicles and drivers to comply with the requirements of the regulation. "

The decree also limits the use of this type of transport to the Panamanian capital and to the interior provinces of Panamá Oeste, Colón (north) and Coclé (center); specifies the characteristics that the vehicles that provide the service must meet; an option that Uber introduced a year ago, will affect 1 in 3 users and decrease "significantly" the earnings of drivers, since 52% of trips are paid in metallic, according to this company.

Uber communicated today to its users that "we support that the regulation is rethought for a more flexible and inclusive", and encouraged its clients to say if they endorse that "the decree is discussed."

The considered low quality of the service of traditional taxis (yellow) and the arbitrariness with which the drivers determine the rates, despite the fact that prices are regulated, they have caused a boom in these mobile applications in Panama, among which is also the Spanish Cabify.

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