Just a day after Uber began operating in Buenos Aires, a court in the Argentine capital ordered authorities to take steps to halt the ride-hailing service’s operations in the city.
A local court told the mayor’s office to “arbitrate the necessary measures to suspend any activity by the company,” according to the Associated Press.
Uber announced it was starting operations in Buenos Aires on Tuesday, but, the AP noted, the mayor’s office said it was not allowed to do so because it does not yet meet some requirements for carrying passengers.
The court’s ruling came after an appeal by taxi drivers’ unions that argued Uber was operating illegally because its drivers don’t pay the same insurance and licence fees as regular cab drivers.
The unions said the loophole allows Uber to charge less than regular taxis, which endangers their livelihoods, according to the AP.
“We are not very happy with this arrival because we believe that [Uber] is not coming to compete with legal weapons, which is what we ask for these services to function,” Jorge Celia, president of the Society of Taxi Vehicle Owners (SPAT), told Spanish newspaper El País in late March.
“Uber is not coming to generate jobs nor to pay taxes; it is not coming to generate any bonanza, rather the opposite, and it puts at risk 100,000 jobs across the country,” Celia added.
Uber’s announcement that it had began operating on Tuesday sparked protests in Buenos Aires during the city’s afternoon rush hour, the AP reported. The twitter feed for the company’s Argentine branch said it was operating normally.
In a release issued Thursday, Uber cited Argentina’s civil code and said that it was making a legal service possible. The release also referred to the judge’s order as a “precautionary measure” that did not affect the ride-hailing service.
Uber, which booked 169 million rides around the world in March, has encountered pushback from both taxi drivers and governments in numerous Latin American countries.
The ride-hailing service was hit with a $140,000 fine in Colombia for “unauthorised taxi services” in March. In Mexico, where Uber operates in 14 cities and has 1.2 million users, a taxi-driver protest against the app in Guadalajara devolved into a street riot.