Mexico City has proposed regulations for the controversial app-based car service Uber that will require the company to pay licensing fees and obtain permits for drivers, Reuters reported Wednesday.
The new regulations would include a yearly licensing fee of US$101 for each Uber car, a transit fund levy of 1.5 percent of the company's revenues in Mexico, and rules banning cash payment, requiring private car services to offer customers prepaid ride plans.
The fees are on the “high end” of what the company pays to operate in other cities, according to Uber spokesperson Ana Paula Blanco. The proposed rules are expected to be approved next week, and may be subject to changes in ongoing negotiations.
Uber initiated services in Mexico City in 2013 and reports to have some 500,000 users.
Taxi drivers in Mexico have expressed outrage over the pending regularization of services like Uber and Cabify, saying the services are “illegal” if they are unregulated and crowd an already saturated taxi market.
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Organized taxi drivers in Mexico City, where there are 140,000 registered taxis, have also pressured city authorities to regulate such private services by threatening to stop fulfilling requirements for taxi drivers, such as registration payments.
The new regulations could be the first of their kind in Latin America, where Uber has also faced taxi union and legislator push-back in other cities. Lawmakers in the Brazilian capital of Brasilia and financial capital of Sao Paulo have taken steps toward banning Uber, and officials in Colombia have declared the service illegal.
Outside of Latin America, Uber recently suspended services in France after facing heated protests and being denounced as illegal by local authorities, and Toronto city council has also promised to crackdown on Uber in the Canada's largest city.
Earlier this week, organized taxi drivers in Mexico City, Spain, France, Brazil, and Colombia joined forces to form an international front against Uber and Cabify, calling for an international day of action on July 29th to protest private car services and reject their entry into the taxi market.
Uber is a private California-based international company touted as a “ride share” program, but many have criticized it for acting as an informal taxi service that undermines workers' rights and forces taxi drivers out of business.
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