Taxi drivers plan peninsula-wide Uber protest

Collage from Facebook/Uber and Getty Images
Collage from Facebook/Uber and Getty Images
Collage from Facebook/Uber and Getty Images

Mérida, Yucatán — About 5,000 taxi drivers will meet Thursday to decide whether to participate in a huge work stoppage to protest the arrival of Uber, the app-based ride-share service. 

The shut-down will last three days starting either Monday or Tuesday, with bus and combi drivers possibly joining in. 

Over all, 60,000 drivers from Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Chiapas and Veracruz are planning to strike. Taxi drivers from the three peninsular states agreed to firm a new union, the Peninsula Taxi Drivers Front, to fight Uber.

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Aside from marching, drivers are threatening to block airports and bus stations in several locations to “defend their sources of employment.” 

Hector Fernández Zapata, head of the local taxi union FUTV, promised a peaceful protest. 

The larger protest was agreed yesterday at noon in Mérida, with Cancun’s union leaders, stung after’s turf invasion of the resort city last week. Reaction was swift and harsh, with numerous Uber vehicles seized by state authorities. 

Uber is a challenge to established taxi drivers across Mexico whose way of business has hardly changed over the years. Most don’t take credit cards, give receipts or use GPS. Taxi companies are just beginning to embrace high-tech solutions favored by younger fares.

Protest tactics backfired in Mexico City last year. Uber app downloads reportedly increased 800 percent while taxi drivers halted service and demonstrated in the streets.

Compiled with information from Sipse, El Economista

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