‘Adios Colombia’: Uber Makes Its First Exit in Latin America

(Bloomberg) -- Uber Technologies Inc. ceased operations in Colombia after failing to win a government reprieve from a ruling that it was competing unfairly.

The ride-hailing company’s mobile app was disabled on Saturday and users saw a message saying, “Adios Colombia.”

Uber’s exit, its first in Latin America, followed a Dec. 20 ruling by a judge at the industry’s market regulator that found the app violated competition norms. The company had faced a backlash from taxi drivers ever since choosing Bogota as its entry point to South America in 2013.

A last-ditch appeal to President Ivan Duque’s administration to let Uber keep operating failed ahead of the Feb. 1 deadline. While the company says it paid about $40 million in taxes over the years and hired nearly 90,000 drivers, the Colombian government never passed laws to regulate it.

“Colombia’s reputation as being open to innovation just drove off in the back of a taxi,” said Justin Kintz, Uber’s vice president for global public policy.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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