Can You Use Uber In Bogota?
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If you’ve ever traveled overseas, knowing how you’ll get around the country can be challenging. It’s foreign; maybe you don’t speak the language and don’t want to get lost on your travels. Of course, most Americans are used to calling an Uber, but can you use Uber in Bogota, Colombia?
I recently found that Uber falls under a grey area of the law in Colombia. Technically, the brand cannot operate as a taxi service since they’re considered unfair competition. However, you can use Uber since the company found a legal way to bypass this ruling.
If you want to learn more about using Uber in Bogota and other means of transportation, read on!
Is Uber Allowed to Operate in Bogota?
Technically, Uber is not allowed to operate in Colombia at all. This means it’s technically banned in all major cities and other parts of the nation. However, several legal loopholes allow the company to operate within the country, including within Bogota.
In 2020, a Colombian court ruled that Uber could not operate in the country. One of the main reasons for this ruling was Uber was deemed unfair competition for the traditional taxi cab business.
It’s not fair because taxis In Colombia need to undergo a standardized licensing program to operate in the country.
Getting this license is both costly and time-consuming for taxi cab companies. Since Uber and other alternative taxi services didn’t have to pay the same license fees or undergo the same training, the courts found it unfair to let them continue working in Colombia.
However, shortly after the ruling, Uber returned through a legal loophole. Essentially, the court ruling forbids Uber to work as a taxi service, but Uber got around this by designating their service as a rented car.
So, even though Uber is technically banned, it still works in the country as a hired car and driver.
Although, there are still some limitations on how they work and where Uber cars are allowed to go to pick up passengers.
Can Uber Go to the Bogota Airport?
You should avoid using Uber at the airport in Bogota. This is especially true if you’re flying out of El Dorado international airport since police and security heavily monitor it. Try only using taxi services like Cabify to call a taxi to the airport.
Even though you can use Uber in Colombia, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious where you travel using their service.
Most Uber drivers will refuse to take passengers to and from the airport for fear of getting in trouble with police or security.
While it’s rare for there to be any trouble, no Uber drivers want to risk an encounter that could result in a fine and potentially losing their car for a few days.
Rather than risk it, it’s better to just take a taxi to the airport so you and your driver don’t get fined.
You can hail a taxi on the street or use an app to call a cab. There are several options, but I personally use Cabify. It’s the most reliable and trustworthy taxi app in Colombia.
Another thing to consider while in Bogota is if you are allowed to flush toilet paper. It’s a crazy question, and we give a crazy answer here.
What Are the Alternative Forms of Transportation in Bogota?
Buses and bikes are the most common alternative forms of transportation in Bogota. In other parts of the country, you can also hail a motorcycle, but this is not common nor recommended for tourists in Bogota.
Or what about renting a car? This is an option, but driving here can be hectic as the traffic is intense and drives are super aggressive. We explain more about the dangers of driving in Colombia here.
In Bogota, it’s best to stick to traditional forms of transportation, especially if you’re a tourist.
It’s common for local people to pay for a motorcycle ride in some villages and small cities like Popayan.
However, doing this has some safety concerns, especially if you’re a tourist. Thieves might target you since you are a tourist, offer you a ride, and try to rob you.
Since there’s no app for calling motorcycles or businesses running these rides, there’s no accountability.
Unlike Uber and Cabify, which use GPS and phone applications to track driver movements and register rides, these motorcycle rides are entirely random and have no oversight.
I don’t recommend using this mode of transportation in Colombia.
Transmilenio is one of the most common bus systems in Bogota. You’ll find these buses operating throughout the city, including various terminals along the main highways of Bogota.
Most bus rides are cheap for tourists, costing approximately 2,000 pesos ($.50) for a ride through town.
Alternatively, you can rent a bike in Bogota. If you’re walking down the streets of Usaquen, Chico, or other nice neighborhoods, you’ll see brightly colored bikes parked waiting to be rented.
These bikes are part of the local initiative to cut down on CO2 emissions that brought thousands of bikes into the city, which are affordable to rent and available.
You can rent these bikes for about 9,000 pesos for 2 hours (about $2.00). Or you can sign up on the bike app for a monthly or yearly plan which runs for X per month and 191,000 pesos per year (just under $50.00).
Are Cabify and DiDi Legal in Colombia?
Cabify is fully legal in Colombia and is used to call taxis to your location. It works similarly to Uber and other driving apps, except it only operates with licensed taxis, not private drivers.
DiDi is technically not legal in Colombia but is allowed to operate due to legal loopholes.
Are Buses Safe to Use in Bogota?
Buses are a very safe form of transportation in Bogota. Keep your belongings close to you and avoid taking your money out just in case you draw attention to yourself.
Transmilenio is also a green form of transportation that uses hybrid vehicles rather than purely gas-powered engines.
Are Taxis Safe in Bogota, Colombia?
Taxis, Uber, and other driving apps are safe to use in Bogota. Never enter an unmarked vehicle, even if someone offers you a low fair.
Verify your Uber before entering the vehicle by checking the driver’s name, license plate, and car description.
This also applies to Taxis; confirm license plates and names before entering the vehicle.
While in Colombia, you may want to check out Medellin or Cartagena. Which one is better? We discuss this here.
Bogota is an amazing city with so much to see. Fortunately, getting around the city is simple, thanks to the many buses, bikes, and taxis available.
Buses are a better choice for long-distance travel since they’re significantly cheaper than cabs. However, they’re not the best choice for getting from point A to point B because it will take significantly longer than a taxi.
Even though Uber, DiDi, and other private driver apps are banned in Colombia, they can operate due to legal loopholes. This means Uber and other apps are available, and you can use them as much as you like. Just try to avoid using them near the airport.
Here are some more Bogota-specific articles you will want to read:
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