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Tuesday 20 November 2018
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Uber rides out of TT

Photo: Jeff Mayers
Photo: Jeff Mayers

UPDATE:

UBER, the popular taxi app, has hit the brakes on its TT operations, “as a last resort...strictly related to economic and business reasons,” the company has said.

In a statement to Newsday, Julie Robinson, a spokesman for the tech company, said it has already notified its users.

“Despite the circumstances, we are very grateful for the support we have received since the day we launched the platform in TT,” she said.

Uber launched in TT in January 2017, and during that time it had amassed over 500 drivers and 7,000 active users.

In an e-mail to users, Uber claimed that while the “decision was not made lightly,” it believed that, at this time, “there is a lack of proper environment for innovation and technology to thrive in TT.”

The company, which is headquartered in San Francisco, California, USA, said that “having made multiple efforts to create a significant change in the country in regards to mobility and opportunities for entrepreneurship, Uber has unfortunately decided to pause its operation in the country.”

The app will stop service on today at 11.59am.

The app has had some legal and administrative challenges, notably whether, under the current Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act and the Motor Vehicle Insurance (Third Party Risks) Act, it was legal for Uber drivers to transport passengers, as well as insurance coverage in the case of an accident.

The government said the service is illegal, while the company was adamant that since it is a technology company that provides software and not a taxi service, it is.

In a release, the Ministry of Works and Transport said it had met with the company “on several occasions” with the intention of ensuring the company was compliant with TT’s laws. UBER, the ministry said, was required to comply with two “essential and immovable requirements” relating to the local informal transportation industry but never responded to requests for information.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Uber has apparently hit the brakes on its TT operations, just about a year and a half after launching its popular ride-sharing app. In an email to users, Uber claimed that while the "decision was not made lightly," it believed that, at this time, "there is a lack of proper environment for innovation and technology to thrive in TT."

The company, which is headquartered in San Francisco, California, USA, said that "having made multiple efforts to create a significant change in the country in regards to mobility and opportunities for entrepreneurship, Uber has unfortunately decided to pause its operation in the country." The app will stop service on Wednesday, May 30, at 11:59 am.

While popular with riders looking for an alternative to the traditional public transportation options, the app has had some legal and administrative challenges, notably whether, under the current Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act, it was considered legal for Uber drivers to transport passengers. The government has repeatedly stated it is not, while the company was adamant that since it is a technology company and not a taxi service, it is. Newsday has attempted to reach the company for comment. This story is developing.

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