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Uber threatens to leave Mérida

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Angry Uber drivers blocked the street outside the palace of the government. Photo: Facebook
Angry Uber drivers block the street outside the palace of the government today. Photo: Facebook

Mérida, Yucatán — After intense debate and amid a protest, lawmakers approved an amendment to the State Transportation Act stipulating that Uber employees must own the car they drive.

That is, Uber drivers cannot hire partners to share one set of wheels.

One report estimates that half of all current Uber drivers would be disqualified from remaining with the company under the new rule.

Uber drivers descend on the legislative office building. Photo: Flickr
Uber drivers descend on the legislative office building. Photo: Flickr

Upon learning that the initiative had been approved, the Uber Mexico CEO Francisco Sordo, said the service could withdraw from Mérida. Sordo arrived here from Mexico City two days ago to monitor the proceedings.

Uber lambasted the Gov. Rolando Zapata Bello for wanting to support a transportation “monopoly” in the city.

“Why limit the right of citizens to decent work?” Uber officials wrote in an application to the state.

Interest in the law has been intense. The chamber of state lawmakers appeared crowded with onlookers, reports Sipse.

The amendment also provides that the ride-sharing cars must be valued at more than 200,000 pesos, of a little more than US$10,000 under the current exchange rate. That is half the value formerly imposed.

It also empowers the State Transport Directorate to determine the number of units that will be allowed to offer ride sharing, and forbids cash transactions.

No Uber tax

Earlier in the day, the state government issued a statement reporting that the governor sent Congress a request to withdraw the initiative to impose a 10 percent tax on Uber fees.

Many angry drivers blocked the street in front of the government palace across from the Plaza Grande. And shortly before that statement was released, dozens of Uber drivers parked their vehicles outside the relatively new headquarters of the state Congress at the Periferico.

Several drivers tried to enter the plenary room to witness the discussion and approval of the amendments to the Transportation Act, but were not allowed to pass.

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