The union of Cuenca taxi owners is demanding that the city step up efforts to keep Uber and other internet-app taxi services from entering the local market.
“Uber is already working in the city although they are not working off the app,” says taxi owner Carlos Zambrano. “They are giving people their WhatsApp addresses and phone numbers and trying to keep their work secret.” He adds that the service is targeting tourists and North Americans living in the city.
Zambrano believes Uber drivers are working with the Uber Eats service which entered the market earlier this year. According to the service, Uber Eats works with 40 local restaurants and stores to deliver food to customers and operates in Quito and Guayaquil as well as Cuenca.
The taxi union is asking to meet with city officials to discuss what they call “unfair competition.”
The manager of Cuenca Uber Eats says his service works independently of the Uber taxi app and that its drivers are not allowed to “moonlight” as taxis.
National taxi unions met with last week in Quito with ministry of transportation officials and demanded that Uber, Cabify and other app-based taxi services be banned in Ecuador. After first saying it would consider blocking internet access to the apps, the government said it would have to find other mechanisms to protect licensed taxi companies.