Tijuana taxis take on Uber

City soon to decide whether "ride share" service will be allowed

Tijuana taxi drivers who stopped an Uber driver, boxing him in with their taxis
  • Tijuana taxi drivers who stopped an Uber driver, boxing him in with their taxis
  • from YouTube video

On September 11, Tijuana city leaders held a meeting at the chamber of commerce (CANACO) with citizens, representatives of public transit, and other authorities to discuss conflict between taxis and Uber.

The meeting started an hour late. It took three hours to come to the most important and final part of the meeting. The spokesperson for Uber Mexico, Luis de Uriarte, talked about the future of Uber and reminded everyone that Uber follows the law.

The representative of the taxi syndicate left the meeting early while shouting complaints, unhappy that the city’s public transit director, José Luis Hernández, was not present.

There are ongoing discussions about the future of Uber in Tijuana as city hall prepares to regulate the service or eliminate it. News sources and the government have turned to social media to ask the citizens if they want Uber to stay. By overwhelming majority, comments are praising the “ride share” service.

“Uber is staying, I am completely sure,” my Uber driver, Daniel, told me.

I haven't used taxis in a long time. I always take the opportunity to interview Uber drivers in a casual manner. I asked Daniel why he’s so sure that Uber won't be going anywhere.

“This is not my car; the owner is actually a lawyer, a friend of mine,” said Daniel. “He [the lawyer] knows that Uber is staying. One of my regular clients is a judge; she also believes nothing will happen.”

TJ taxi drivers detain Uber driver

Taxi drivers stare at me and the driver menacingly as I get into my Uber rides, but it’s never escalated from there. It wasn’t until my last Uber ride that my driver Julio told me of an altercation.

“I was about to pick up a customer in Zona Río — a taxi blocked me from the front and another approached me from the back. They told me I was in their territory and that I had to leave. I parked a block away and called my client, explaining the situation. [The client] told me that it was no problem and he walked a block towards me.”

The base Uber fee in Tijuana is 35 pesos, which comes to $2.09 and covers a good distance.

The day after the chamber of commerce meeting, a Tijuana taxi driver at the San Ysidro border crossing barked out their own offer: "Here's the new ‘Uber’ service — new system, regular cars, only 10 pesos.”

Taxis are trying to compete against Uber by offering rides in particular cars, picking up people by the border, but still charging cash. Taxi drivers insist that the services offered by Uber are illegal, untaxed and not regulated.

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I would not want to be a Uber driver in TJ. They have a different way of dealing with conflicts that here.

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