Uber Scores Win With New Legislation in Major Market Brazil

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s lower house of Congress voted to approve lighter regulations on car-hailing apps, giving a boosts to Uber Technologies Inc. in one of its largest markets.

The deputies upheld late on Wednesday two of three amendments made in the Senate last year, according to the lower house news agency. Those amendments eliminated requirements that would have made it more difficult and expensive for car-hailing companies to operate, such as using taxi-style license plates. City authorities will have the power to regulate the service, but the bill does not require individual motorists to acquire permits.

President Michel Temer can still veto all or part of the bill coming out of the lower house. He favors the bill in principle but has yet to study it in detail, according to two aides familiar with his thinking.

Uber, which had lobbied legislators intensely, celebrated the approval, saying that the lower house had heard the voice of 20 million users and half a million drivers in Brazil. Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are the company’s busiest cities and it billed half a billion rides in the six months through Feb. 20 alone in Brazil.

The legislation is balanced and put Brazil at the vanguard of regulating modern urban transport solutions, Cabify, another car-hailing service, said in a statement.

Rio de Janeiro is studying how to pass on the fees and taxes raised by the apps to invest in the city’s taxi network, the mayor’s office wrote in an emailed statement on Thursday.

"Motorists from Uber and other companies use the roads, use the city’s infrastructure," Mayor Marcelo Crivella said. "So they will have to contribute, like taxis and other public transport services."

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.