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  • A driver displays Uber and Lyft ride-sharing signs in his car windshield.

    A driver displays Uber and Lyft ride-sharing signs in his car windshield. | Photo: Reuters

Taxi drivers' main fear is that their business will be hurt, given that it has already been badly damaged by the island's decade-long recession.

The arrival in Puerto Rico of Uber, the private-ride service, was received with anger as many Uber taxi drivers reported Wednesday on social media that they had been assaulted in the past few days, mostly by other taxi drivers.

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The violence targeted vehicles suspected of offering transportation via the mobile app that links passengers and drivers.

The traditional taxi drivers are demanding that Uber drivers pay the same administrative fees that they must shell out and subject themselves to the same checks and operating requirements.

Taxi drivers' main fear is that their business will be hurt, given that it has already been badly damaged by the island's decade-long recession.

Puerto Rican Taxi Drivers Federation chief Juan de Leon told EFE in a recent interview that about 100,000 people, including direct and indirect workers, will lose their jobs if Uber and similar services are allowed to establish themselves on the island.

Public transport is nonexistent in some parts of Puerto Rico and inefficient in others, thus taxis and tourist transport vehicles are sometimes among the very few transportation options apart from private vehicles.

The California-based firm is already operating in Puerto Rico, having received legislative approval to do so, and it has already begun recruiting drivers.

In early May, key Puerto Rican business and sociocultural leaders expressed their support for Uber, claiming that it will spur the local economy and tourism.

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