Uber declared illegal; cars seized

Uber drivers start their engines today in Mérida. Photo: Sipse

Mérida, Yucatán — The Uber backlash has begun here. It took just 20 days.

The state transportation department has declared Uber illegal and has arrested drivers, according to Diario de Yucatán and other sources.

The ride-sharing program began operations on March 20. At least 10 vehicles were stopped while accepting customers who summoned them on their smart phones.

Drivers were fined between MX$3,500 and $35,000 for violating the Passenger Transportation Act, and not having a proper concession to compete with taxi drivers.

Diario said the crackdown is due to pressure from taxi drivers who for years have operated in the city. About 80 Uber vehicles are operating in the city, according to Sipse.

Confiscated vehicles are under guard at the Department of State Transport.

U.S.-based Uber entered Mexico in 2013 and has operations in Mexico City, Puebla, Queretaro, Tijuana, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Leon and Toluca. In Mexico City last summer, taxi drivers protested in demonstrations that turned violent. Three weeks ago, police arrested 47 people in Guadalajara after about 2,500 protesters took to the streets to protest against Uber and other ride-sharing services.

Uber is an app-based business that competes with taxis. Drivers use their own cars, and connect to riders and receive payments via smart-phone.

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