Uber answers taxi drivers' protests by offering free rides

Written by: IANS
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Mexico City, May 26: Hundreds of taxi drivers in Mexico City protested against Uber and the authorities failure to do anything about what they consider an "illegal" service -- which the US company answered by offering free rides to customers throughout the day.

Groups of taxi drivers from different parts of the city on Monday gathered at Angel de la Independencia monument where they planned to kick off the march at 10.00 a.m., but since some arrived late, they set off an hour later.


The demonstration planned to go down Paseo de la Reforma avenue to the Zocalo, Mexico city's largest square, and was promoted by the Organized Mexico City Taxi Drivers association, or TOCDMX.

Though the goal was to denounce all "illegal" taxis, the protests were particularly aimed at Uber, a San Francisco-based company that allows individuals who submit applications to offer transport services without their cars having any kind of special license.

The response from Uber, which has been the target of objections by taxi drivers' association in cities around the world, was to offer free rides to its customers, so that now "transport is going to get very complicated," Uber's communications director for Mexico and Central America, Luis De Uriarte, told Efe.

"We did this in line with our goal: to offer people in Mexico City another choice for safe, trustworthy transportation," the director said, adding that the company will cover all the expenses its drivers incurred Monday in carrying out the promotion.

De Uriarte also said the company might possibly favor being regulated, "but only if the customer's needs are placed first and foremost."

According to TOCDMX estimates, the operations of Uber, Cabify and similar services cost regular taxi drivers approximately 10 percent of their daily income.


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