.…… strike caused major disruption.
Thousands of taxi drivers in the Colombian capital Bogota blocked roads and clashed with police in protest at hail services such as Uber. Yellow cabs lined the streets of the city on Monday as drivers objected to what they said was an unfair advantage awarded to app-based services.
The protesters are called for more regulation on technology companies like Uber and Cabify, who they say are not obliged to pay insurance
Drivers argue that the technology is expensive and makes them more vulnerable to theft.
Cab drivers blocked major intersections in the capital. As protesters began attacking those who refused to join the strike, police threw tear gas at the crowd to disperse them.
“We want the government to stop Uber, Cabify and any other applications that try to come here,” said taxi driver William Trivino, 38.
However, authorities in Colombia have said that they are unable to prevent start-ups like Uber and Cabify from operating in the city.
It comes after a government decision to force drivers to replace taxi meters with GPS-based software applications that can be used to calculate and collect fares.
Drivers argue that the technology is expensive and makes them more vulnerable to theft. Demonstrators are also protesting against the city’s recent drive to offer on its roads preferential lanes for buses and bikes.
There are some 480,000 registered taxis in Colombia, with 53,000 in Bogota, a city of about 8 million people.
Uber and Cabify operate in a legal vacuum in Colombia, with the Technology, Information and Communication Ministry saying it cannot block them, while the Transport Ministry says they operate illegally but cannot be closed down.
Uber said in a statement that it is a safe and reliable alternative for thousands of users. Cabify said that taxi drivers and app-based services can coexist to provide quality service.
With reports from Reuters and P&L News