New plan in Mexico City demands Uber pay up

Mexico City – According to a government draft plan, Uber drivers will be required to have a permit and pay into a transport fund to work in Mexico City.

The proposed regulations are seen as the first in Latin America for the ride-hailing app. The new regulations will ban Uber and companies like Uber from accepting cash payments from customers, using taxi stands or offering prepaid plans.

An official close to the capital’s Transport Secretary, Rufino Leon, explained that instead, Uber will have to pay 1,599 peso per vehicle per year for a license and return approximately 1.5 percent of its domestic revenue to a city transport fund that will be created if the plan is a go-ahead.

However, Ruben Alcantara, a taxi union leader, said he has a draft of the proposed regulations that state Uber would have to pay between 3 and 5 percent of its domestic revenue into the transport fund.  He was unable to explain the discrepancy in figures by the government official.

Uber spokeswoman, Ana Paula Blanco, responded by saying the figures were at the “high end” but “ballpark-ish” for what the company pays in other major cities, mentioning a 1 percent charge in Washington D.C. She added that Uber is happy to pay costs that put it on a “level field” with local taxi services.

According to a city official, negotiations are still in the works and the plan could change before the expected publication of the new regulations, which is scheduled for next week.

Uber launched in Mexico City in 2013 and says they have approximately 500,000 users. Mexico City has 140,000 registered taxis with drivers previously protesting, calling for an Uber ban.

Uber faces challenges in other Latin American cities such as San Paulo (Brazil) where Uber remains in waiting for the executive approval from the government in Brasilia. Uber has had 23 of their vehicles seized since August.

Earlier this year, a Brazilian court overturned a ban on the app, allowing them to continue operations in Brazil and Columbia in response to public demand.

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