Panama regulates Uber and similar platforms

Following pressure and protests by the local transportation sector during the last several months, Executive Decree No.331 of 31 October 2017 was published yesterday in Panama's Official Gazette:

To date, Uber and similar services had not been expressly subject to the applicable transportation regulations.

Decree No.331 regulates "luxury transport services" offered by means of information and telecommunications technology platforms such as Uber, Cabify, among others.

Vehicles used for this service must be registered with the Panamanian Transportation Authority. Their maximum capacity is 7 passengers and vehicles older than 7 years may not be in circulation.

Drivers must have at least 21 years and require a special license type E1. Registration of drivers is also required, as well as having no prior police record.

Insurance coverage for drivers and users is mandatory. The platform company (Uber/Cabify) is joint and severally liable with the vehicle's owner and drivers before the State, users and third parties for any liability arising as a result of the service.

Credit card payment is mandatory for customers. Cash payment will only be allowed during the first 6 months after the Decree entered into effect.

There is a 60-day period after publication of the Decree for all companies, vehicles and drivers to comply with the new regulations.

Ivette E. Martínez S. -