Taxi drivers in Latin America and Europe are ready to battle Uber; Quito drivers say there could be ‘blood in the streets’ if ride-booking apps come to town

Jul 8, 2015 | 4 comments

Taxi driver associations from Latin America and Europe teamed up Monday in their campaigns against Uber and Cabify, following sometimes violent protests over the ride-booking apps.

A taxi driver in Mexico City protests against Uber.

A taxi driver in Mexico City protests against Uber.

Daniel Medina, of the Organized Taxi Drivers of Mexico City, announced an “international front against the illegal operations of these global companies such as Uber that put the taxi sector at risk.”

Medina said taxi groups from Brazil, France and Spain were joining forces.

In Ecuador, taxi cooperatives said they understand that Uber has plans to expand into the Quito and Guayaquil markets and that they are prepared to mount opposition.

In a teleconference from Madrid, the leader of the Elite Taxi organization, Miguel Chacon, said drivers from the Spanish capital would protest in front of the Mexican embassy on July 29 in support of their Mexican peers.

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“Uber came to our country and completely destroyed our social economy,” Chacon said. But Medina and Chacon did not give more details about what actions the associations might take.

Taxi drivers have held protests in Mexico, Brazil and Colombia as well as Europe. In Paris, a demonstration turned violent last month. In Latin America, Uber drivers or their cars have been physically attacked or threatened by taxi drivers.

In a press release, several Quito taxi coops say that there could be “blood in the streets” if Uber or other ride-booking apps companies begin to operate. “This affects the livelihoods of people and is very serious,” the release said.

Taxi unions argue that Uber represents unfair competition because its drivers do not face the same license fees and other taxes, allowing them to charge much less for rides.

Uber suspended its UberPOP service in France on Friday, six months after it was banned.

 

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