Hundreds of taxi drivers flooded the center of Buenos Aires on Thursday with a black and yellow fleet as a sign of protest for the activity of transport platforms such as Uber and Cabify, which they believe are precarizing the union and carrying out unfair competition.
Three years after the landing of Uber in Argentina, both taxi owners and peons -who drive another owner's cars-, moved from different parts of the city to the Casa Rosada, headquarters of the Argentine Government, to deliver a document in which They exposed the delicate situation that the sector is experiencing.
According to Efe Esteban Villalba, representative of the Taxi Capital Association, the number of trips in taxis has dropped between 40 and 50% since the arrival of Uber.
In November, the Buenos Aires government approved a law to stop the advancement of this private transport application by tightening the sentences for those who transport passengers illegally, as the platform does, but Uber is still operating in Buenos Aires.
"It is very strange to us how they are firm to mobilize all the infantry to evict the manteros, who are presumably illegal, and apparently there are no tools to evict these illegals," Villalba said.
On the other hand, the Cabify transport application is legalized as remisería (transport vehicle company with driver), but many of the participants in the demonstration still consider it illegal.
On the modernization of the taxi sector, the union representative stressed that they are also making great progress, since the BATaxi application was launched, with a similar operation to that of other platforms, by which the passenger can summon them and they come.
Gustavo Centurión, who has been a taxi driver for 26 years, attended Efe on his way to the government headquarters, surrounded by comrades waving yellow and black flags – colors of Buenos Aires taxis – and honking their horn as a sign of vindication.
Centurión said that this is "the worst crisis" that the union has experienced, so it has to work more than twelve hours a day.
"Not only in the sector but throughout the country, the economic crisis we are going through is terrible and to top it off, we have this against Uber, Cabify and all this that is complicating us," he lamented.
The most repeated complaint among those attending the mobilization is that these transportation applications do not have the same records, insurance, or knowledge that they are required.
"Every year we have a six-hour course to tell us how fast you can drive on a highway or where is the Congress or the Casa Rosada," said Patricia, who shares the profession of taxi driver with her husband.
However, criticized that Uber is not required anything of that and can pick up passengers "quietly" and "nothing happens."
"I hope justice is done and I hope the law becomes a match for everyone." If you put yourselves beside me in a patch, Uber or whatever, they demand the same as me and you charge the same as me, I applaud you. do not come to steal my work, because they are stealing our work, "said the taxi driver.