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2nd taxi strike set; some drivers risk being ‘traitor’

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Taxi drivers are planning another strike, but some are quietly joining Uber on the side. Photo: Sipse
Taxi drivers are planning another strike, but some are quietly joining Uber on the side. Photo: Sipse

Mérida, Yucatán – Yucatecan members of the National Taxi Drivers Movement, Movimiento Nacional de Taxistas, plan to hold a strike on Wednesday, Nov. 23 as their battle with Uber continues.

The new technology has forced some drivers to moonlight on the very platforms they have been protesting. Some are quietly joining ride-sharing platforms on the side, Sipse reports. 

The newspaper found drivers who are taking one or two taxis and using them constantly in shifts, catching fares however they can. They spoke to a reporter anonymously for fear of being branded traitors by their colleagues.

A ‘full schedule’

“In the morning I have my taxi. In the afternoon, for hours, I am available on Uber. Sometimes I have a full schedule, because I also give private fixed services that are not Uber,” one driver said.  “I was on Ryde & Go, but demand was low and many colleagues and I, we left there and checked out other platforms, some on Cabify and others with Uber.”

He said he has also organized via WhatsApp, a popular smart-phone messaging platform, to communicate and provide “pirate” taxi services.

The decision to strike was set after a meeting in Mexico City between federal officials and groups representing taxi operators.

In Yucatán, ride-sharing platforms will be under regulation as well. Uber, Cabify and Ryde & Go drivers have until Dec. 26 to register so authorities can vet the drivers for safety and criminal records.

But union taxi drivers say they have seen little effort on the part of Uber to comply with regulations.

An earlier strike achieved mixes results.

On Sept. 27, more than 2000 FUTV taxis and buses, and some allies, held a half-day strike. Rallies were held simultaneously in Campeche, Quintana Roo, Chiapas and Veracruz.

Uber responded by offering free rides for the duration of the strike, which introduced the service to hundreds of first-time customers.

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