Uber's website announces its move into Puerto Vallarta. Uber's website announces its move into Puerto Vallarta.

Coming soon to PV: Uber vs. taxi drivers

Ride-hailing service looking for drivers, but taxis are preparing for battle

There’s a battle brewing in Puerto Vallarta: Uber’s coming to town.

The app-based ride-hailing service announced on the weekend it would be setting up in the Jalisco city as well as in Nuevo Vallarta in the Riviera Nayarit.

The company has begun looking for drivers in both areas but has not announced a start date.

But as far as Puerto Vallarta’s taxi drivers are concerned, there won’t be one because Uber does not have the necessary authorization to operate in the municipality.

“If it’s necessary that we have to demonstrate we shall do so in a peaceful and respectful manner, but we’ll do it with all our families,” said Jaime Aguilar Mejía, general secretary of a local taxi drivers’ union.

He said there are some 3,000 taxi drivers in the municipality.

Local politician and former mayor Ramón Demetrio Guerrero is on their side and warned Uber’s presence would create a negative impact for many area families.

He issued a statement last week advising that legislation in both Jalisco and Nayarit doesn’t permit the ride-hailing service. Only taxis are allowed, Guerrero said, and there is no place for any other configuration.

Uber itself said it was “passionate about improving your city,” and promised to boost the local economy and make streets safer by reducing the number of drunk or distracted drivers.

It would also promote an environment that was more connected and less congested, the company said.

Another taxi union spokesman said drivers had been working with the state for three years to make sure they comply with certifications required by law. They are also developing a mobile platform to become more innovative, said Felipe Aréchiga Gómez.

Uber has faced off against angry taxi drivers in various Mexican cities. Among the most recent was a spat in Mazatlán.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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