MEXICO CITY – Several hundred taxi drivers parked their vehicles on a main thoroughfare in the Mexican capital and several roads leading to the airport Monday to protest what they see as unfair competition from Uber and other ride-hailing services.
“We remain at a complete disadvantage, as the taxi sector is subject to a series of obligations while the other service that is offered via apps doesn’t need to comply with the law at all,” Ignacio Rodriguez, spokesman for the National Taxi Movement, told EFE.
Nearly two years into the administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, officials have not “equalized the conditions of competition” between cabbies and “these transnational companies that don’t pay taxes,” Rodriguez said.
Mexico City’s secretary of Mobility, Andres Lajous, said Monday that while the municipal government embarked last year on an effort to regulate the activities of the ride-hailing apps, progress has been slow and uneven amid legal maneuvers by the companies.
The capital has 110,000 licensed taxis and an estimated 157,000 drivers affiliated with services such as Uber, Didi and Cabify.
Lopez Obrador offered individual taxi drivers the sum of 25,000 pesos ($1,170) to compensate for their loss of income due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Those subsidies have not arrived,” Rodriguez said. “Many taxi drivers in Mexico City registered with the Welfare Secretariat as the government asked and those subsidies have not arrived.”
Lajous said that the municipal government continues to engage with cabbies in Mexico City and the surrounding region.
“The hope is slight, but the National Taxi Movement does not turn away, we are open to dialogue. We have waged this struggle for five years already,” Rodriguez said.
Regarding claims by officials that most of the participants in Monday’s protest were from outside city limits, Rodriguez said the mobilization was “metropolitan.”
“We are taxi drivers from Mexico City and the state of Mexico because Mexico City is the seat of federal power. We are asking for dialogue with the (federal) Government Secretariat and it is here in the city. Simultaneously, fellow taxi drivers in 17 cities in the country are also carrying out acts of protest,” Rodriguez said.