Uber faces protests, car impoundments in Cancun
CANCUN – Uber Cancun began its new service last week with a rocky start as local taxi drivers protested and state authorities impounded Uber cars.
At least three of Uber’s vehicles were seized on their first day as taxi drivers blocked road access to Uber drivers.
Businessmen such as César Navarro Medina, former director of Cámara Nacional de la Industria Restaurantera y Alimentos Condimentados, (Canirac), says that Uber’s presence in the area would be highly beneficial, stating that healthy competition is always beneficial to users because it helps improve existing services.
Navarro Medina explains, “In regard to Uber, all competition is good and forces us to improve ourselves. For a long time there has been contemplation of service options and I think this is good and will force unions to improve their services to citizens and make their charges more transparent. We are dedicated to tourist sites and there are few taxies in the city with clear charges. This could be a turning point to provide better service to all with very transparent tariffs.”
On Wednesday Sept. 14, more than 2,000 unionized Andrés Quintana Roo taxi drivers around Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Tulum and Chetumel stood in protest of Uber.
Andrés Quintana Roo spokesman, Luis Miss, stressed that all they are asking for is that state officials respect the law according to Article 31a of the Law of Transportation, which does not allow companies such as Uber to offer their services in the state of Quintana Roo. He added that Uber entering the state, mainly in the municipalities of Benito Juarez and Solidaridad, puts economic instability on the more than 25,000 families who rely on taxi services for income.
When questioned about the poor service provided by state taxi drivers, Miss said that the administration has been working to modernize units and that they have withdrawn more than 50 outdated cars from circulation.
In recent days, the Lazaro Cardenas Union of Taxi Drivers said they will be strengthening their WhatsApp Taxi services, increasing the number of units that provid the service and that they are working on a platform similar to that used by Uber.
WhatsApp Taxi coordinator, Rosario Rabanales Ovando, noted they intend to improve the service and keep up-to-date with technological advances and the use of social networks. It was 16 months ago when the taxi service began offering the WhatsApp Taxis project, which now includes 150 units 24 hours a day anywhere passengers wish to go.
She added that there is a central answering location that sends the nearest car and that costs are standard rates plus 10 peso for the service, adding that some units can take debit and credit cards for payment.
She said that the only difference between the taxi service and Uber is, “They (Uber) manage their service by an application, but we managed by Whatsapp. It is easier and more feasible for everyone and has been easier for people with disabilities to request the service. We thought of developing an application for some time, but it is easier because everyone uses the Whats App and everyone has a mobile.”