Luxury transportation services offered by digital platforms (UBER-CABYFY, ETC.) are regulated in Panama.
Executive Decree No. 331 of October 31, 2017 regulates the digital platform services which are based on the petition of private transportation with a driver by means of smartphones, to mention some.
This measure is the result of the need of relying on standards allowing governmental authorities to have control on the luxury transportation service offered by these type of platforms. Therefore, Article 1 establishes that any type of transportation offered by means of these technological platforms must comply with the characteristics and specifications included in this Executive Decree.
One of the most important points in this Executive Decree is that only national citizens can be owners of the vehicles used to offer this service or third parties duly authorized, and they will be allowed to have up to two automobiles to offer transportation in these platforms. Vehicles should not have more than 7 years of use and have a maximum capacity of 7 passengers (Article 7).
To discern between public transportation and this luxury service, it has been established in this Decree No. 331, that the service cannot be rendered directly on the streets nor shall they have centrals (cab terminals or stations) where the users can go and request the service. The service shall only be rendered in the provinces of Colon, Panama, Western Panama and Cocle. Rates indicated by the company rendering the service shall be established herein.
Another provision is that every vehicle used in these platforms must have a commercial insurance policy in force with extended coverage for the drive and the passengers, as required by the Superintendency of Insurance. In case the policy is not in force and there is an accident during the transportation service, the company offering the technology shall be responsible for the damages caused, up to an amount equal to the amounts insured in the insurance policy of the vehicle.
In relation to the driver, he must be a minimum of 21 years old, have a driver’s license issued by the Transit and Land Transport Authority, must be registered under the list of Drivers of the platform and submit his/her criminal record. The company must publish in its Internet page and application the cost for the transfer with all its variants or surcharges.
Payment for this service can be in cash for a period of six months, which is the period the TRANSIT AND LAND TRANSPORT AUTHORITY has granted to these companies to comply with the requirements established in Executive Decree No. 331.