The Brazilian Senate is debating a bill containing tough regulations for ride-sharing apps, causing Uber’s Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi to consider leaving their second-largest market.
The bill would require municipal governments to regulate ridesharing apps, including requiring insurance for carrying passengers and pension benefits for drivers, as well as increased oversight of drivers and their cars.
Brazilian Congressman Carlos Zarattini, the author of the bill, admitted that the measure would end ridesharing as it currently exists, but he’s willing to sacrifice that in the name of “protection” for drivers.
Fabro Steibel, the executive director of the Institute for Technology and Society of Rio de Janeiro, told ABC News the bill will “strangle” ridesharing apps and offers no clear benefits to ridesharing participants.
Among the many regulations is a requirement that drivers own their cars, excluding drivers who rent from working for Uber. Drivers would also need to ask permission from each city in which they wish to take their passengers.
Uber attempted a massive lobbying effort against the “covert ban” on ride-sharing and successfully collected 800,000 signatures from Brazilians who say they oppose the bill. Meanwhile, the Senate’s own website shows a poll with 200,000 people in support of the bill and only 40,000 against it.
The company currently has more 500,000 drivers in Brazil and more than 17 million users.
Uber has been a great lifeline for Brazilians struggling during an intense recession where unemployment stands at 12.4 percent.
Protesters accused the taxi industry of being like a mafia for reaching out to the government for a bailout.
A revised version of the bill will be under consideration in the near future.