Uber drivers in Brazil's capital, Brazilia, took to the streets to protest a recent bill passed by the Latin American country's Senate, which made it too difficult for Uber to operate in the country, the company's third-largest market. On the other hand, hundreds of taxi drivers - bused into Brazilia by unions - protested in favour of the bill, citing Uber has drastically cut into their earnings.
According to an article by Reuters, the bill is actually weaker than the original version, which initially included provisions requiring drivers to get special government permits, drive solely cars they owned, and use the same red license plates as local taxis.
Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi visited Brazilia with the sole purpose of meeting with the Senate. The meeting produced a positive result for the company, as the Senate pulled back on proposed regulations for ride-sharing services.
The revised bill no longer requires that drivers use their own cars and obtain taxi license plates, but it still subjects drivers to licensing and taxation rules set by local city governments. Because of the revisions, the bill must go back to the lower house of Brazil's Congress for re-approval.
"In the past, we were a bit aggressive, but we have to understand that it's not just about what we want and reach compromises," Khosrowshahi said in an interview with Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo. "We are not against regulation. Regulating services like Uber is totally appropriate."
In a study conducted by Brazil’s antitrust regulator CADE, and issued only hours before the Senate was due to vote, concluded that car-hailing apps have actually improved the market for individual passenger transport by increasing competition. CADE said apps like Uber, Cabify and 99 should lead to less regulation rather than more.
Recently, car-hailing companies such as Uber and Cabify encouraged Brazilians via WhatsApp and social media to urge their senators to vote against the measure. According to Cabify, the Senate took note of the messages on social media and 825,000 signatures handed into Congress opposing the original bill.