Uber softens rhetoric as stalemate in Yucatán continues

Uber has ignored a state deadline to register its business, and has vowed to stay in Mérida. Photo: file
File photo

Mérida, Yucatán — Officials who brought the Uber ride-sharing platform to Mérida nearly two years ago are today more conciliatory in their drawn-out confrontation with the state legislature.

That’s the message from Uber’s spokeswoman when interviewed by Diario de Yucatán.

Uber and state authorities have yet to agree how to regulate the popular taxi alternative. For now, the company is being protected by the federal court during the standoff.

One important part of the court’s protection is that it allows Uber to accept cash payments, said María Fernanda Reséndiz González, communications manager of Uber in Mexico. Just over half of the city’s population doesn’t have a credit card, and the state’s insistence that all transactions are placed on a traceable credit card limits Uber’s customer base.

Uber has signed up 5,000 “driving partners,” although it’s unlikely that many Uber drivers are on duty at the same time. It is entirely up to the driver when they decide to check in. For a member to be considered active, he must give more than three trips in the last three months. That’s a low threshold, but gives flexibility to drivers who already have a job.

“We, first of all, wish, to be clear that we want regulation,” said Reséndiz González. “We are open to it, we are open to dialogue and work together with the authorities to achieve it. We want a regulation that is inclusive and that allows benefits to the mobility of the city, drivers and users.”

Reséndiz González was asked if this is a new era for Uber in the state.

“What I could tell you is that Uber confirms its commitment to Mérida, with Yucatán, and we are here to help improve people’s mobility and create employment opportunities,” she replied. “We know that each year 30,000 new vehicles are incorporated into the vehicle registry, and what Uber does is to generate options that allow Meridanos and visitors to enjoy this beautiful city.”

Although Uber competes with taxis on price, it also employs “dynamic” rates that can go up in periods of high demand. She called it an incentive for drivers to provide the service at all times.

Reséndiz González also admitted that Uber has been remote in its dealings with media. She promised to be more accessible to the press from now on.

More than 286,000 customers have used the app in Mérida, including tourists from 61 different countries.

Source: Diario de Yucatán

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