Pando

Cabbies in Mexico City and London protest competition from Uber

By Nathaniel Mott , written on May 26, 2015

From The News Desk

Hundreds of taxi drivers have snarled traffic in Mexico City to protest what they believe are unfair advantages given to on-demand services like Uber and Cabify.

Protestors have said that drivers for these services aren't subject to the same regulations, licensing fees, or fare minimums as the city's official taxi drivers. This makes it harder for licensed cabs to compete with on-demand services.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Mexico City's government plans to resolve the issues between the two sides, which have been escalating for a while now:

Mexico City authorities plan to hold public discussions to debate regulations to cover the emergence of car services not covered by the current law. At the same time, traffic police have cracked down on Uber, impounding cars and imposing stiff fines on the grounds they’re being used as unauthorized taxis.

Some Uber drivers have reported being verbally or physically attacked, particularly on weekend nights, when competition for revelers is greatest. Few of the attacks have resulted in injuries. According to Reuters, one of the main issues is that Uber's minimum fare is much higher than those allowed for traditional taxis. (The cabbies are also apparently upset about a rule requiring them to paint their vehicles pink.)

This isn't the first time licensed drivers have protested the competition with ride-hailing services. London cabbies did the same thing in September 2014, and actually organized another protest in London today, over the same issues.

Uber has offered free rides to consumers in Mexico City to show that it won't suspend operations just because hundreds of cabbies are protesting its service. I wouldn't be surprised if it offered a similar promotion in London at some point.

In the meantime, it seems like Uber will continue to operate normally in both Mexico City and London, despite the inconveniences posed by these protests.

[illustration by Brad Jonas]