Photo via Conexion Brando.

In an interview this afternoon, the City of Buenos Aires’ Transportation Secretary Juan José Méndez stated that the ride-sharing app Uber, which began to operate today at 4 PM, is considered illegal and that Uber vehicles “will be towed if found” working for the app.

“When the service starts operating we will conduct the necessary regulations, there will be no exceptions and they will be treated like an illegal mode of transportation,” explained Méndez.

Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta had already announced the City’s official stance regarding Uber, which was that it had to undergo the same controls and authorizations as taxi services already operating in the area.

Méndez stated that the reasons why the City has not authorized Uber is that the service “does not comply with the law, has inadequate insurance […] from a service’s point of view, it’s worrying.”

When asked about whether Uber representatives had been in touch with City Government officials, Méndez said that they had not:

“We had informal information that it was about to begin [its operations], but there was no formal contact.  We were always open to dialogue [but] they chose another path. Taxis and remises  [a taxi called by phone that charges a flat rate according to the distance instead of using a meter] are regulated and that guarantees the safety we want to provide for [Buenos Aires City] residents.”

“[The vehicles] will not be confiscated, but towed, as in the case with DUIs. Tow companies will take vehicles until owner present themselves [at the impound],” continued Méndez.

Taxi drivers have been less polite in their rejection of Uber, throwing stones at the hotel in which Uber drivers were being trained a few weeks ago and today blocking several roads and access points to the City in protest of the app’s launch.