Uber hits roadblocks in Brazil's biggest city and capital

The Uber ride-sharing service is facing roadblocks in Brazil. The Sao Paulo city council voted 48-1 late Tuesday to prohibit the use of smartphone-based ride-sharing applications like Uber in the city of 12 million. And the city council of the capital city of Brasilia also approved such a ban.

The Sao Paulo measure still needs another vote and then the approval of Mayor Fernando Haddad before taking effect. In Brasilia, the measure goes straight to federal district Gov. Rodrigo Rollemberg for his approval.

On its Facebook page, Uber said the company "defends the right of users to choose the way they want to move about the city," and that since the ban has not yet been enacted, it will continue "to operate normally in Sao Paulo."

It said that Uber users had sent more than 200,000 emails to Sao Paulo city legislators urging them to vote against the ban and "expressing their desire to use the service."

If the measure goes into effect, Sao Paulo Uber drivers who ignore the ban can be fined 1,700 reals ($ 545) and have their cars confiscated.

The service has drawn increasing use since last year's World Cup of soccer, with many of its cars cleaner and newer than those of regular cabs.

The official cab drivers complain it's unfair competition because Uber drivers don't have to pay city fees or undergo official inspections.

"Because of Uber and inflation I am now earning 40 percent less than I did last year," said Sao Paulo taxi driver Anderson Machado as he drove down Avenida Paulista, one of the city's main thoroughfares.

The AP contributed to this report.

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