Uber driver attacked as taxi union plans huge strike

A taxi driver using a traditional Mexican wrestler's mask takes part in a march to protest against the private taxi company Uber for alleged unfair competition, in Mexico City on May 25, 2015. Photo: Yuri Cortez / AFP / Getty Images
An airport confrontation between taxi and Uber drivers got ugly on Wednesday.
An airport confrontation between taxi and Uber drivers got ugly earlier this year.

Mérida, Yucatán — Angered by new competition from Uber, local taxi union FUTV announced a general strike on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

The decision comes hours after a vicious assault on an Uber driver south of the city.

It was not clear whether strikers would attempt to impede traffic or disrupt the airport.

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FUTV is historically sensitive to competition. They disrupted the local airport in 2014 when the bus line ADO was allowed to operate in the same parking lot. Taxis until then had an exclusive lock on the airport, where they charge three times the rate of a taxi hailed on the street. Now, both the slick ADO company shuttles and Uber vehicles present fresh, cheaper options for airport arrivals.

In an all-hands meeting today north of Mérida, the union’s general secretary Hector “Billy” Fernández Zapata made the announcement.

Fernández said that ride-sharing technology like Uber puts Yucatecan families at risk as unlicensed drivers “come to steal” a long-standing way of life.

Taxi drivers voted to hold the protest next Tuesday 27 September, covering not only the taxis of Merida, but all members of the FUTV in the state.

Sipse reported that more than 2,000 units will cease operations and be stationed along the Periférico or on the road to Campeche.

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The FUTV has a presence in 103 municipalities, and may be joined by other drivers who are in sympathy with their position.

Overnight, in the San Jose Tecoh section of the city, a 55-year-old Uber driver was beaten and his car burned. Witnesses heard screams and reported seeing two subjects running from the scene and board a green-and-white taxi.

The Nissan Tiida was consumed entirely by fire and its driver suffered blows to his body and face, according to several local news agencies. Many Uber drivers rushed to the scene where emergency workers were already dispatched.

In response, about 200 Uber drivers took to the streets, protesting at the Plaza Grande today.

A local ride-sharing company, Ryde & Go, reportedly suspended its services for the safety of passengers and drivers.

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