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Mexico City taxi drivers demand shut down of Uber, countering protest Uber provides free cabs

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Photo credit: https://twitter.com/Uber/media
Photo credit: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/25/mexico-city-taxi-drivers-protest-uber
Photo credit: theguardian

By NewsGram Staff Writer

Hundreds of taxi drivers in Mexico City protested against the US taxi provider, Uber and demanded that the authorities should shut down this online ride service. Countering the protest, Uber provided free rides to customers throughout the day to drive all the criticism directed its way.

The drivers said that Uber and other ride-sharing services evade the tax, registration and safety laws that regular cabs are subjected to.

The event was organized by the Organized Mexico City Taxi Drivers association (TOCDMX). The demonstrators rallied across major parts of the city including  Paseo De La Reforma Avenue and Zocalo, Mexico city’s largest square.

“We have to pay for car taxes, taxi license plates, permits, and all the rest, while Uber drivers just pay for vehicle verification and that’s it,” Juan Luis Uscandia, a Mexico City driver told a news agency.

Addressing the rally, Taxi drivers’ leader Eleazar Romero said that, “we are not against technology. We just want a level playing field, we want everyone to follow the same tax rules we do.”

Responding to the protest, the company said on the website, “As today is a difficult day to get around, we have decided to give away Uber rides to all users, because #MexicoDoesntStop #UberDoesntStop.”

The San Francisco based company, Uber allows individuals who submit applications to offer transport services without their cars having any kind of special license.

In December 2014, the taxi drivers had filed a complaint against Uber for violating the mobility law of Mexico. According to IANS, the law’s Article 258 states that companies commit the crime of “illegal passenger or cargo transport” when they use vehicles lacking “a concession or permit issued by the (mobility) secretariat for those purposes.”

Uber has often been criticized for acting as an informal taxi service, undermining workers’ rights and forcing taxi drivers out of business.

BBC review of complaints against Uber show that customers have alleged misunderstanding regarding Uber Technologies’ pricing. They further alleged that consumers have difficulty in reaching out to a customer service representative to get their concerns addressed.

The free ride offer may appear enticing to the users at first, however, it can have grave effects in the long-run.

Exempted from paying car taxes or possessing license plates and permits, the cab service provider has full freedom to put the safety of passengers at risk.

Last year, Uber halted its operations in New Delhi after one of its drivers was arrested for allegedly raping a passenger. The incident is a proof that how dangerous a taxi ride can become if the cab services are excused from following basic public transport rules.

Next Story

Uber Incorporates Several Changes to its App for Drivers to Improve their Experience

Earlier in May, ride-hailing drivers in cities across the US went on strike to protest unfair pay, poor working conditions and lack of transparency from Uber

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Uber, bengaluru
Photo shows an exterior view of the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. (VOA)

Amid rising tensions over workers rights, global ride-hailing major Uber has incorporated several changes to its app for drivers to improve the experience for both newer as well as seasoned drivers.

Uber is testing out several new features for drivers, including a scrolling feed of promotions and gamified ‘quests’ that would be viewable before drivers sign in to start driving, The Verge reported on Thursday.

For newer drivers, there would be a ‘simulated trip’ to walk them through the virtual steps of their first ride before they commit to actually picking up passengers.

The update on Uber’s app comes at a time when ride-hailing drivers are supporting legislation in California that would reclassify them as employees rather than contractors.

The app would also give notifications to drivers for longer than average trips.

Uber app.

When drivers need to cancel a trip, the app would allow them to specify the reasons why – while a new feature would automatically accept the next trip to help the drivers earn the ‘consecutive trip’ bonus paid out by Uber, the report said.

Critics have dismissed these ‘gamified’ features as psychological tricks meant to keep drivers on the road longer.

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However, Uber argues that these features are popular with drivers because they often put more money in their pockets.

Earlier in May, ride-hailing drivers in cities across the US went on strike to protest unfair pay, poor working conditions and lack of transparency from Uber. (IANS)