Uber has continued to function in Sao Paulo after the government voted to ban the use of private cars registered with the mobile phone app, in light of protests by local taxi drivers and the governments seizing of 23 vehicles since August 2014.
Despite primary rounds of voting in Brazils largest city and in the capital Brasilia, which favoured the ban, the bills still require executive approval and official sanctioning from Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad.
Uber said its users have the right to choose how they move about the city and that innovation should not be constrained.
We are currently waiting to see what happens. We are in constant contact with representatives of the legislature to further explain Ubers business model, how it works, because what we want is a form of regulation that allows innovation. We cant restrain innovation, we have to encourage it, Uber spokesperson, Fabio Sabba, said on 8 July.
Uber distinguishes itself as a safe and streamlined service due to the technology that allows passengers to see the car, number plate and driver who will pick them up, while often offering amenities such as complimentary bottles of water.
Uber works with the idea that the passenger is not cargo, he or she is a passenger, a person inside our vehicle who is important to us, who needs to be treated adequately, and who needs to be taken to the destination safely and comfortably, said Uber driver Marcio Goncalves in Rio de Janeiro.
The service has received significant opposition from regular taxi drivers, who say their profits have been damaged. Taxi drivers protested in April in various cities throughout Brazil, claiming the service is illegal competition that undercuts prices.
Following the protests, Ubers downloads multiplied by five in Sao Paulo alone. According to taxi driver Luis Fernando, the expansion of Ubers clientele has had a significant effect on income of drivers of regular taxis.
We taxi drivers completely disapprove of Uber because it has really brought down demand for our services, he said.
Recently the situation has escalated and, on 4 July, an Uber driver was shot at by Rio de Janeiro cab drivers, according to one taxi driver who witnessed the attack.