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Mexico first to limit Uber cars - draft

2015-07-13 10:01

NEW UBER LAWS: Mexico City could be the world's first city to impose strict regulations on e-hailing company Uber. Image: Shutterstock / Chad Zuber

MEXICO CITY, Mexico - Draft regulations could make Mexico City the world's first city to limit the number of Uber cars on its roads.

It's the latest potential hurdle for the car service being hit by a regulatory backlash around the globe.

Uber has been valued at more than $40-billion globally. It opened in Mexico City in 2013 and now claims to be one of its fastest-growing markets with 500 000 customers.

The company, based in San Francisco, California, would also have to use vehicles costing a minimum of $15 883 (the equivalent of R197 000) that are no more than seven years old, according to the draft plan drawn up by the Mexico City council and seen by Reuters on Friday (July 10 2015).

DETAILS IN NEGOTIATION

A city official working on the regulations confirmed the details of the document, drafted on Thursday and expected to be finished later this month (July 2015). The official noted that details of the draft were still being negotiated.

Uber said it could not comment since it has not seen the draft, which does not specify the car limit, leaving the number to the Mexico City transport department's discretion. Regulation by Mexico City would be the first for Uber in Latin America and is also set to apply to other ride-hailing apps such as Cabify.

Uber's public policy chief Corey Owens was strongly opposed to a fleet limit. "Imposing some arbitrary cap on the number of vehicles would simply create the same problems that Mexico City residents have suffered with the existing taxi industry."

No city had capped the number of Uber cars in circulation.

PERMITS REQUIRED

Taxi union leader Ruben Alcantara said he would demand, when he met city officials to discuss the regulation on Monday (July 13), that Uber's cars cost at least $2540 - the equivalent of about R30 500.

The planned regulation would also require Uber drivers to have permits and to pay a percentage of its revenue to a city transport fund, as shown by an earlier draft obtained by Reuters.

A city official said on Tuesday (July 7) that a permit would cost $102 a year (about R1225) and the revenue levy would be 1.5%, a figure Owens put "at the high end" of what the company paid in other major cities. Officials said those numbers might change.


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