Chetumal, Q. Roo — After 15 months of operating in defiance of state law, Uber announced that it will suspend activities at 9 a.m. today (Wednesday) as a “gesture of collaboration.”
The ride-share company plans to resume legally in the New Year under a state Mobility Law, which is expected to pass soon in the state legislature.
Around 1,000 drivers answer the call when passengers engage the Uber smartphone app. Taxi drivers have been aggressive as a new technology moves in on their turf.
“Uber is not leaving Cancun, it’s just a pause, as it changes the current regulation, in order to make it more inclusive. We see the willingness of the authorities to modify some characteristics of the regulation and, as a sign of good will, we will suspend operations,” said Carlos Olivos, an Uber spokesman.
Olivos added that officials considered a pause in activity as the best way to advance the talks and restart the year in a safe environment after the violent reaction by local taxi driver unions. Taxi drivers have been confrontational, hunting down Uber drivers, often attacking them physically and damaging their cars.
The digital platform entered Cancun in September 2016. Since then, more than 300,000 customers have used the service. Of those, 60 percent have been national and international tourists.
The Mobility Law will set standards for the vehicle and decide whether cash payments should be allowed. Uber prefers credit card payments so that drivers aren’t crime targets.
“We are working hand in hand with state authorities and Congress in the development and approval of an inclusive regulation,” he said.
A week ago, Cancun taxi drivers posted messages saying they would not allow Uber to operate under any scheme.
Yesterday, via WhatsApp, drivers were ordered by Uber to cease serving customers. Online, Uber has withdrawn Cancun from its list of cities where they serve.
Uber’s offices in Cancun will remain open.
In neighboring Yucatán state, where Uber operates in its capital Mérida, it was the law that was put on pause. Uber got a break from a federal judge who suspended state regulations while their constitutionality is analyzed.
And in Campeche, Uber is ending operations today after 15 contentious months, without any timeline for a return.
“We hope to return to Campeche when the economic and political environment is conducive to innovation and technology,” reads a statement on Uber’s Facebook page.
With information from El Universal