Taxi drivers divided over ‘super Monday’ boycott in Santiago

By Kendall Thiele/ The Santiago Times

SANTIAGO — Leaders from the Guild of Taxi Drivers have met with Transportation Minister Carlos Melo, reaching an agreement to discontinue the organized boycott that had been announced for March 6, the so-called ‘super Monday’.

Luis Fields, President of Confenataxi, said in a press conference that the mobilization was postponed with the expectation that the authority fulfills the agreements reached on the problems of the apps, Uber and Cabify.

“We have agreed with the ministry that during the month of March they will give the utmost urgency to the bill, that was our objective. Our intention was not to harm our users. In fact, the underlying idea is to take care of citizens,” he confirmed.

This is an amendment to the law that seeks to impose more controls on the apps.
Luis also announced that he will present a criminal complaint against Uber for tax evasion. The Guild does not support yet another year of the irregularity and piracy, he concluded. “We are going to halt the boycott provided the authority comply to the agreements within 30 days,” he reiterated.

For his part, Confenatach president Luis Reyes indicated that “the Guild is stronger than ever” to face the 40 percent drop in income that was met with the introduction of the apps.

He also called upon his colleagues to denounce the ‘bad elements’ among taxi drivers, which will also be faced with an increase in the control of transportation to and from the airport, where there have been increases in the rates for foreigners.

According to Confenatach calculations, the fiscal damage by Uber International Holdings and Uber Chile SpA amounts to more than 104 billion pesos (roughly 155 million USD).

Meanwhile, the United Taxi Drivers group, in lieu of a boycott, announced that it will plan a march for the families of the taxi drivers between Plaza Italy and the Palacio de La Moneda, which does not include vehicles, at 7:00 am on Monday.

The intention is to deliver a letter addressed to President Michelle Bachelet.
Transport Minister Carlos Melo assured that all the appropriate steps will be taken to accommodate the crowds and emphasized that majority of taxi drivers agree with the cancelation of the boycott.