Sao Paulo taxi drivers banned from wearing shorts

SAO PAULO - Taxi drivers in Brazil's biggest city have been banned from wearing shorts - or trying to engage their fares in banter about football.

The rules that took effect in Sao Paulo on Monday aim to whip the city's cabbies into shape. In addition to outlawing shorts and flipflops, the rules slap fines of about $9 for drivers who show up unshaved or with untidy hair.

From now on, cabbies are required to appear in proper shirts, with dark jeans or dress trousers, as well as a belt.

Beyond looking the part, the new restrictions will also require cabbies to mind what they say, "avoiding polemics" about football, politics and religions and presenting an "optimistic and upbeat" attitude.

The push for higher standards is part of the authorities' attempt to reform traditional taxis at a time when they face stiff, but unregulated competition from global ridesharing giant Uber.

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