Most people who had to move around the City and Greater Buenos Aires had a pretty stressful day yesterday. As a result of the transportation unions’ strike, buses filled to the point of busting, commutes lasted for two hours when they should have taken 20 minutes. But yesterday was not a net loss for everyone — Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Cabify along with standard taxis say their revenue increased by huge percentage points as a result of the strike.
“The amount of people registered in Uber multiplied by three, same as the number of people who took the first trip,” Pablo Dorfman, Uber Argentina’s director of communications told Cronista.
Dorfman went on to say that “in the context of the transportation strike, and to help users, we launched incentives between [the hours of] 4 and 11 AM. Additionally, drivers who took the streets in the morning were guaranteed a minimum earning of AR $250 an hour. With this, we managed to multiply the number of cars on the street by four, compared to last Monday. 85 percent of those who requested an Uber got it in less than 10 minutes.”
Considering that in September Uber released its first figures since launching in the country, stating it has more than 1,000 drivers and 29,000 users — overall, not daily — surely their numbers were not too shabby. The downside? Since international flights were also cancelled during the morning, foreigners, the app’s main source of income, couldn’t go back and forth to Ezeiza airport. Moreover, the company’s activity hasn’t been legalized by either the City of Federal Government yet. It’s actually in big trouble — and with many potential users not being able to pay for the service with local credit cards, the company still lost out on customers who might have wanted to use the service.
As for Cabify, App’s general manager for Argentina, Guillermo Minieri, told Cronista that they saw a “200 percent increase in trips compared to last Monday.”
Taxi drivers, whose union didn’t join the strike — they usually don’t, as the demand typically skyrockets — also saw their profit increase, but not as much as the ride-sharing apps. Member of United Taxi Drivers Union, Alejandro Costa, told Cronista “there were 20 percent more trips than usual, but no more than that.” He said the main reason was that, since their service is highly regulated, they couldn’t “offer incentives nor [could they] modify the standard rate.”
“It’s not enough to compensate for the drop our activity registered this year,” he added.
Shortly after noon all transportation services were restored, but the situation didn’t go back to normal until several hours later. In any case, we know which groups are probably rooting for another strike of the kind in the near future.