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Uber Puerto Rico accepting cash as payment option

By on August 18, 2017

SAN JUAN – Ride-hailing network Uber is closer to reaching its goal of providing its service “everywhere, for everyone” with a new payment method for users in Puerto Rico that is sure to add to the 111,000 registered users of its mobile app: cash.

Julie Robinson, Uber’s spokeswoman for Central America and the Caribbean, told Caribbean Business that the using the app will be the same as before, with the only difference that users will not need to provide a credit card to use it.

“[We] seek what we have sought in all the other cities and countries where we have launched, that people, despite being unbanked or if they are, and for some reason cannot use their cards, that i be a restriction to enjoying the service,” she said.

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As for company drivers, who attend workshops to learn to use the system, a green screen will let them know their customer will pay in cash. Despite drivers having the option to cancel a trip once accepted, Robinson said the goal is to provide service to all people who need it, regardless of their payment method.

“Usually, there is an increase in users, because there is definitely a market of people who, because they do not have the [credit] card, cannot use it, so the number of users is definitely grows when launching the cash option,” Robinson said.

When asked by Caribbean Business if accepting cash–which is now accepted in Mayagüez, Ponce and San Juan–could represent an obstacle for Uber drivers, the spokeswoman said the company will keep information records.

The company will ensure that the cash collected by its drivers will reach the Treasury Department’s revenue reports because the app retains travel route and cost data, and “isn’t editable.”

“[The driver] can’t say, ‘I’ll erase all these trips paid in cash.’ There is no way. It’s just as if it were with a [credit] card; everything behind the app is identical to how it is handled with a card; the only change is how the money is exchanged,” she emphasized.

Faced with the concern of many driving partners that the new alternative could cause drivers to become the target of assaults, Robinson stressed that the company will launch safety tools in the coming weeks to reduce the fear of assaults.

“At the end of the day, Uber users are not only people who use the service to move, but also the one who provides the service through the platform, [so] we definitely develop things for the well-being of both,” she said.

The option to pay in cash arose when Gov. Ricardo Rosselló enacted the bill that centralizes public transportation regulations under the Public Service Commission. The Public Works and Transportation Department (DTOP by its Spanish initials), formerly prohibited the alternative  for transportation network companies.

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