Sao Paulo (RETUERS) The city council of Sao Paulo, South America’s largest metropolis, voted to ban the U.S.-based Uber ride-sharing service late Tuesday, the latest setback for the company after several countries took similar steps in recent months.
City lawmakers decided 48-1 in favor of banning application-based private car services such as Uber in a preliminary vote. The bill requires a second vote and the signature of Mayor Fernando Haddad in order to be enacted.
The mayor has not indicated whether he would sign the bill into law.
“Uber defends the right of users to choose the way in which they move about the city,” the company said in a statement posted on Facebook after the vote, adding that the service continues to operate normally in Sao Paulo, a city of 11 million people.
The company said more than 200,000 emails had been sent to city council members by users urging them to vote against a ban.
Sao Paulo’s white taxis swarmed the street in front of the municipal legislature on Tuesday and drivers filled the chamber’s galleries.
Uber has triggered protests by taxi drivers from London to New Delhi as it upends traditional business models that require professional drivers to pay often steep fees for licenses to operate cabs.
In early May a Brazilian judge struck down an injunction calling for Uber’s suspension throughout the country.