Taxi drivers protest in Chile against high fuel prices and transport apps

More than 200 taxis blocked one of the main roads in Santiago this Tuesday (26) to protest against the increase in fuel prices and ask the government greater regulation on transport applications.

Among corners, horns and flags with the typical colors of taxis in Chile (yellow and black), the protesters advanced along the Alameda and arrived at La Moneda Palace with the intention to deliver a letter with demands to the Chilean president, Gabriel Boric.

“Today we have a big problem called ‘platform project’, which is in Congress and is tailor-made for these applications” , told a local broadcaster one of the leaders of the march, who identified himself as Manuel.

The law that regulates platforms such as Uber and Cabify is pending in Congress and establishes that these companies must register in notary with all the information of its drivers and vehicles and to have insurance for passengers and drivers, q who must have a professional license.

The regulation also allows taxis to be incorporated into the applications and creates a catalog of infractions and penalties.

In turn, Nelson Ponce , another protester, asserted that the lack of regulation of transport apps is “a problem that has dragged on for ten years” and that many of his colleagues have gone into debt to buy their taxis and suffer from “unfair” competition.

Taxi drivers also protested against the price of fuel, which has risen for 200 consecutive weeks in Chile and is estimated to be around 26 % since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The government of Chile, an oil importing country, presented at the end of March a bill to inject US$ 40 millions in a fund that stabilizes fuel prices and which was unanimously approved in Congress in early May.

The Oil Price Stabilization Fund (FEED) seeks stabilize domestic fuel prices, insulating them from the short-term volatility that affects international prices.

Chilean Finance Minister Mario Marcel said this Tuesday that the dollar’s fall after a historic intervention in the foreign exchange market by the Central Bank “has a downward effect” on the price of imported gasoline.

“Just as the dollar rose a lot at the time, and this put more pressure on fuel prices in the local market, now this pressure will be less”, highlighted Marcel.

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