Uber boosts Algarve service in line with tourist growth
Uber has announced the expansion of its Algarve service and aims for waiting times of less than four minutes in much of the region.
Rui Bento, the Uber-meister for Spain and Portugal, plans to “quadruple growth in the Algarve region,” with a mix of the economical uberX service and uberXL for group travel of up to six passengers.
Bento sees the summertime boom in tourists as the primary economic opportunity with a claimed 5 million people in Portugal opening the Uber app last year and 1.5 people using the service since its inception.
Portugal is a growth market for Uber, but the company’s arrival was not without controversy as the app-based business model is popular with customers but hated by cabbies.
Taxi drivers repeatedly have staged protests against Uber’s alleged non-compliance with licensing standards and the transport union tried in court to get the company’s services banned.
In July 2016, the government said that Uber will be fully legal and operational ‘by the end of the summer’ but legislation was delayed despite a desire by the government to be seen as technology friendly.
It was not until April 2018 that new laws was approved and sent to the President for signature.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa rejected the proposed laws as the legislation did not do enough to take into account taxi drivers that are affected by the growth in Uber and similar new-wave companies.
Since 2016 thousands of tourists, from 128 countries, have used Uber in the Algarve.
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