Taxis ditch meters, double down on Mi Taxi app

Taxi drivers are planning another strike, but some are quietly joining Uber on the side. Photo: Sipse
Taxis continue to compete with Uber in Mérida. Photo: archive

Mérida, Yucatán — Taximeters are a thing of the past, the FUTV taxi union has declared.

Already, city cabs are summoned with an app called Mi Taxi Yucatán. But now they are leaning on the technology even more by uninstalling the old analog technology, and using the app to determine routes and prices.

The FUTV admits that the old taximeters, “ruleteros,” were not trustworthy, and drivers sometimes manipulated them to overcharge.

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The general secretary of the FUTV, Héctor “Billy” Fernández Zapata, said that with more emphasis on the new technology, pricing will be fair, precise and predictable.

Riders know prices and routes by using the smartphone app, just like Uber customers have for more than a year now.

When Uber expanded into Mérida last year, they immediately clashed with the taxi union, which cried foul. But riders embraced the newcomer, which was generally cheaper and more comfortable and efficient. Today, Ubers are still technically a “pirate” taxi service until they agree to register with the state as a public transportation service.

This change among the traditional taxis is part of the modernization of the FUTV, Fernández Zapata said.

The Mi Taxi application was last updated in June 2016. It still does not accept payment, a major advantage of the Uber app. It is also not available to smartphone users with non-Mexican accounts, so it is out of reach to visitors and many expats. 

Averaging a paltry one star, Mi Taxi Yucatán is plagued by unfavorable reviews on Google Play and iTunes. The Uber app, now at version 3.241.2, was last updated just this week, and has an average user rating of four stars.

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