Uber Drivers Attacked in Mexico City

Published: August 5, 2015

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Sean Cooper

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Uber has been in news headlines lately for all the wrong reasons. Despite Toronto city council’s promise to crack down on the car-pooling service and concerns that some drivers aren’t properly insured, Uber is in the news yet again.

It’s no secret that Uber has been a thorn in the side of licensed taxi drivers for months. As reported by Autoblog, Uber drivers were met by a hostile crowd just outside Mexico City airport. Uber drivers were reportedly attacked with clubs and stones.

Taxi drivers would like to see Uber come to an end once and for all in Mexico’s capital city. There is a video of people tossing eggs and flour inside Uber vehicles, kicking car doors and destroying side mirrors. One angry protestor even threw a large rock through an Uber vehicle’s rear window.

Uber issued a statement condemning the attack. "What happened is a very grave attack on everyone's freedom and right to make a living in a dignified manner," Uber said in a statement. "Incidents like this are completely unacceptable, and we trust that authorities will act so that justice is done."

The incident, coupled with a protest outside the Colombian Embassy to show support of taxi drivers in Mexico and worldwide, shows that recent laws that attempted to regulate Uber have only added fuel to the fire of the ongoing dispute between cabbies and Uber drivers.

A spokesperson for Uber said that up to 12 Uber vehicles had damage done to them in the attack. Despite some drivers being hit, there were no reports of serious injuries. In fact, some cabbies even used their vehicles to block off streets.

Leaders of the Organized Taxi Drivers of Mexico City union released a statement condemning the attacks, saying they were in no way involved. The group promised to pursue legal ways to halt Uber, saying the attacks were perpetrated by those upset with Uber drivers using their neighbourhood to pick up passengers from airports.

"They are decisions that the neighbors of the area made, but we have nothing to do with it," union spokesman Juan Carlos Rovira said. "We say so categorically."

In July Mexico City became the first city in Latin American to regulate Uber-like services. Uber and similar companies must collect 1.5 percent of fares for improving transportation; drivers must be registered and submit to annual inspections; and drivers are barred from accepting cash or establishing the equivalent of taxi stands.

Taxi drivers are questioning whether Uber is skirting around the new regulations. Uber drivers are reportedly parking on surrounding streets outside the Mexico City airport, waiting to be summoned by customers by its smartphone app.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera has been under fire lately by allowing Uber to continue to operate in the city. Taxi drivers would like to see the regulations changed to create a truly fair playing field.