Uber in Rio – level 3
Hundreds of taxis flood the streets of Rio de Janeiro, but they’re not going anywhere. They’re here to protest – protest against Uber. Tensions in Brazil have been bubbling over between taxi drivers and the app driven ride sharing company with complaints of lack of regulation and unfair competition.
In the midst of the country’s worst recession in a generation, desperate drivers feel their services have dropped by 60% since Uber began in Brazil, and they’re calling for legal action to bar the app.
Savio Santos has worked as a taxi driver for 36 years and he believes Uber has to end if their business is to survive. He says he hasn’t paid his housing bills in three months and his electricity is about to be cut off.
Would-be passengers are forced to walk along the side of the road with suitcases and bags in tow, as drivers block the main routes from the Santos Dumont Domestic Airport waving their arms in protest, bringing the bustling city to a standstill.
For those at the airport flights leave and arrive on schedule, but just outside the check-in lounge, banners unfurled, coloured smoke and chants of unrest.
This isn’t the first country where Uber has come under fire but the company says it defends the choice of its customers.
Difficult words: tensions (bad situation), desperate (hopeless), bar (ban, prohibit), in tow (being towed, pulled), bustling (busy), unfurled (spread out, shown), chant (shouting).
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