MEXICO CITY — Uber, beware: Mexican taxi drivers will hunt you down.
A leader of Mexico State’s taxi drivers said as much. “We are not going to leave (Uber cars) alone. We are tracking these colleagues and hunting them down,” Esteban Meza, who represents about 13,000 cabbies, told the country’s top-selling newspaper, El Universal.
Meza claims his cohort will hand Uber drivers over to the authorities but warned that “without doubt this is going to create big trouble.”
Mexico is the site of the latest turf war since the meteoric rise of car service companies, like Uber, Lyft or Cabify, whose smartphone apps and no-cash payment systems are quickly transforming private transportation internationally.
Taxi drivers worldwide complain they’re losing their livelihood to services they accuse of swerving around traditional license and fare rules. Many are taking legal action, and judges from Brazil to Italy have ruled in the old-school taxis’ favor.
Now some Mexican taxi drivers are promising to take that fight from the court to the street. Past rivalries between competing taxi groups have led to some bloody street battles.
Another Mexico State taxi leader also said his affiliates were combating the Uber threat on the street.
“We have detected their presence and taken measures to stop them from coming into this part of Mexico State,” said Heriberto Oviedo, who represent thousands of taxi and bus drivers, according to El Universal. He didn’t say specify what those measures were.
Mexico State incorporates much of the urban sprawl of Mexico City. Taxi drivers in the Federal District, the central part of the city, have also complained about Uber and have held marches against it.
In the whole of Mexico City, home to 20 million people, about 300,000 people have now downloaded the Uber app, according to Mexico’s Radio Formula.
The traditional taxi drivers say they aren’t against competition but complain that Uber drivers haven’t gone through the same expensive and time-consuming efforts to get licenses.
Transport authorities limit the number of taxi licenses they grant to avoid flooding the market.
Mexican transportation officials are currently holding meetings at both state and federal levels to determine how they will deal with the Uber challenge.
Source: USA Today