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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
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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.

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Uber to Double its Workforce in The Year 2019

The Uber's IPO move came a day after Lyft, its main competitor in the US, deposited paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an IPO

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Uber to double down on hiring techies in India, files for an IPO. VOA

Online ride-hailing platform Uber has announced to double its workforce in the product and engineering departments — from over 500 to more than 1,000 ‘technologists’ — at its Bengaluru and Hyderabad facilities next year.

Uber India aims to hire full-stack teams that include product managers, product designers, data scientists, user researchers, mobile, front-end and back-end engineers, as well as Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) experts, the company said in a statement late Friday.

“In 2018, our tech teams grew by 150 per cent and we are focused on doubling down again in 2019,” said Apurva Dalal, Head of Engineering, Uber India.

According to the company, its tech centres in Bengaluru and Hyderabad are critical to the global mission of developing urban mobility solutions for everyone.

“Engineers are working on exciting areas of Customer Engagement, Rider access (next billion riders), Uber Eats, Maps, Marketplace and Data platforms,” informed Dalal.

Uber said it will continue to hire talent from top engineering universities in the country.

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

Uber Engineering India has developed some key innovations such as Uber Lite which is a lighter and faster version of the main app.

Uber currently operates in 31 cities in the country and aims to take its services to other, deeper parts of the country.

Meanwhile, the cab hailing app has filed paperwork for its initial public offering (IPO), The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday citing people familiar with the matter.

Also Read- Microsoft Wants Regulation For Facial Recognition Technology To Start in 2019

The details of Uber’s filing, including the exact day of filing the paperwork, were not known.

According to reports, the company’s most recent private valuation was $76 billion, when it sold a roughly $500 million stake to car maker Toyota.

The Uber’s IPO move came a day after Lyft, its main competitor in the US, deposited paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an IPO. (IANS)