Mexico City to regulate Uber with license fees, ride levy

The proposed regulation bans Uber and companies like it from accepting cash payments from customers, offering prepaid plans or using taxi stands.
Uber will have to pay the government US$101 per year to license each vehicle on its platform and give about 1.5 percent of domestic revenue to a newly created city transport fund. (Photo: Reuters)
08/07/2015
10:42
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Uber's drivers will need permits to work in Mexico City and the company will have to pay into a transport fund, according to a draft government plan seen by Reuters, in what would be the first such regulation for the ride-hailing app in Latin America.

The proposed regulation bans Uber and companies like it from accepting cash payments from customers, offering prepaid plans or using taxi stands.

Uber will have to pay the government 1,599 pesos (US$101) per year to license each vehicle on its platform and give about 1.5 percent of domestic revenue to a newly created city transport fund under the plan, an official close to the capital's Transport Secretary Rufino León, told Reuters on Tuesday.

Uber spokeswoman Ana Paula Blanco responded by saying the figures were at the "high end" but "ballpark-ish" for what the company pays in other major cities, pointing to a 1 percent charge in Washington D.C. Uber is happy to pay costs that put it on a "level field" with local taxis, she added.

The plan is still being negotiated and could change before the expected publication of the regulation next week, the city official said.

Rubén Alcántara, a taxi union leader who showed Reuters the draft, said he had been told Uber would have to pay between 3 and 5 percent of revenue into the transport fund at a meeting with transport secretary Leon on Tuesday.

He could not explain the discrepancy with the figures given by the government official, who was also at the meeting.

Mexico City is home to 140,000 registered taxis, and drivers have previously protested in the streets against Uber and called for it to be banned.

Uber launched in Mexico City in 2013 and says it has about 500,000 users. It faces challenges elsewhere in Latin America.

Lawmakers in Sao Paulo, Brazil's biggest city, and capital Brasilia have voted to ban Uber after protests by local taxi drivers and after the Sao Paulo government seized 23 vehicles since August. The bills still require executive approval.

There have been sporadic attacks against Uber drivers by Bogota's regular taxis, while an Uber driver was shot at by cab drivers in Rio on Saturday, a taxi driver who witnessed the attack said.

Colombian authorities have deemed the company illegal and police have impounded a number of cars offering services on its app.

Uber, which overturned a ban by a Brazilian court earlier this year, has said it will continue operations in Brazil and Colombia in response to strong public demand.

 

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