Uber authorized to operate in Brazil's biggest city

SAO PAULO – The mayor of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, signed a decree Tuesday authorizing the use of smartphone-based ride-sharing-applications like Uber.

Mayor Fernando Haddad’s decree said Uber and other companies offering the same kind of service must pay the equivalent of $0.03 cents per kilometre ridden with a passenger.

The service has drawn increasing use since soccer’s 2014 World Cup, with many of its cars cleaner and newer than those of regular taxis.

Cab drivers protested in front of City Hall and blocked several streets and avenues. They complain Uber is unfair competition because its drivers don’t have to pay city fees or undergo official inspections.

Uber’s Sao Paulo office did not respond to an emailed request for comment.