Mexico City to regulate Uber with license fees, ride levy: Draft

By: | Published: July 8, 2015 11:40 PM

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.

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 ($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 Leon, told Reuters on Tuesday.

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

Uber is happy to pay costs that put it on a “level field” with local taxis, spokeswoman Ana Paula Blanco said, but she would not comment on exact figures before they are official. Uber launched in the huge market of Mexico City in 2013 and says it has about 300,000 users.

Ruben Alcantara, 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. It faces challenges elsewhere in Latin America.

Lawmakers in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, and the 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.

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. ($1 = 15.7905 Mexican pesos)

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