Cancun, Q.R. – The battle against Uber Cancun continues as local taxi unions say the company is illegal and the routes are rightfully theirs.
The route from the Cancun International Airport to the Cancun Hotel Zone has been valued at more than 8 billion peso per year, a value that has Uber and local taxi drivers in a war.
With a market of billions of pesos at stake, taxi driver union Andrés Quintana Roo has maintained an open war for half a year against independent drivers affiliated with Uber. Many Uber drivers have experienced intimidation and violence that has resulted the death of one driver and the hospitalization of at least a dozen others.
In January of this year, Uber driver Hadad Isaí Tec, 22, lost his life on the road to Punta Sam after being the alleged victim of harassment by local taxi drivers. On October 22 of last year, a Cancun Uber driver uploaded a YouTube video of his car being hit by police in an attempt to stop him.
The origin of the battle is to control one of the country’s most lucrative public transportation routes, a route known to generate more than 8 billion pesos a year. Taxi drivers can charge up to 700 pesos or $35 for trips from the Cancun Airport to the hotel zone, a route that costs around 200 pesos with Uber.
Cancun Uber driver Arid Maceda says, “We are dealing with aggression. They do not let you load the passengers. They try to intimidate you with groups of three or four taxi drivers. It’s because we charge much cheaper than them that they are so annoyed, but they do not have to try to destroy the vehicles.”
Uber has confirmed that so far this year, its drivers have filed 22 criminal complaints for injuries and three complaints before the State Human Rights Commission, but have received no response or follow-up from authorities.
Assaulted Cancun Uber drivers have filed injury complaints that include broken noses, head and back bruising, blows to the face and torn clothing. The injuries, they say, have all been photographed and documented in an attempt to challenge the union.
Deputy of Communications and Transport of SINTRA Emiliano Ramos explains, “What I’m against is that they do not want to regulate themselves. What cannot be is that some carriers have concessions, a license granted by the State, certain rules while there is another transport company that is not regulated by anyone.”
However, others disagree saying that is not the real issue. “They are taking advantage of the loss of the PRI. There is a lot of money involved. A lack of transparency in finances and there are multi-million dollar secretaries. A plate in Cancun can cost 350,000 pesos and in Playa del Carmen half a million,” says Jorge Aguilar Osorio, president of the PRD.
In the first 155 days of operation, Cancun Uber was fined 76.5 million peso and has an average of 8 cars towed per day.
On their website Cancun Uber states, “Uber is passionate about making your city better. That’s why we partner with thousands of locals who keep Cancun moving. Together we’re energizing the local economy, helping make streets safer from drunk driving, and fostering a less congested environment.”