taxis and uber 'Taxi drivers united,' reads the sign, 'get out, Uber pirates.'

Quintana Roo voters will decide on Uber

Future of digital ride-sharing services will be decided by referendum

The future of Uber and other digital ride-sharing services in Quintana Roo will be put to a vote after the state’s electoral institute approved a request for a referendum from Governor Carlos Joaquín.

The referendum, the first of its kind to be held in the state, will coincide with presidential and municipal elections on July 1.

The proposed question voters will face is: “Do you agree to the authorization of public transport service rental cars [contracted] through digital platforms?”

Uber started operations in Cancún in September 2016 but announced the suspension of its services in December “as a gesture of goodwill” and “to work hand-in-hand with the state” on transport regulations.

As in other Mexican cities, Cancún taxi drivers protested the arrival of Uber, seeing it as a threat to their livelihood.

Ugly clashes have occurred in several Mexican cities, including Cancún. An incident last October resulted in the death of a taxi driver after he was hit by an Uber driver in his haste to escape from a likely confrontation.

At the time of its provisional exit from the Cancún market, Uber México general manager Federico Ranero said the company “has worked continuously with the government of Quintana Roo to create the best possible regulatory framework for users and driving partners.”

He also said he was confident that the state would be Mexico’s next to regulate digital ride-sharing services.

Uber vowed to return to Cancún in the first quarter of 2018 but has been held up because a debate on transport laws in the state Congress did not proceed as planned.

However, the company said that demand for its service has continued, spiking significantly during the Holy Week holiday period when it received more than 19,000 requests to which it was unable to respond.

The referendum takes advantage of a recently approved Citizens’ Participation Law that provides for the exercise.

The president of the Mexican Travel Agency Association, Sergio González Rubiera, said yesterday he was confident that the result of the referendum would be positive for Uber.

Mexico’s ride-hailing service market is dominated by the United States-based firm but a comparable Chinese company, Didi Chuxing, announced last week that it will soon start operations in the country, initially focusing on the México state capital of Toluca.

Source: El Universal (sp), The Yucatán Times (en)

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