Every few years Mexico City’s taxis are required to repaint their vehicles, at their own expenses, with the city choosing the mandatory colors. Many cabbies joke that the mayor’s brother must own a paint company in Mexico, but there is not any jokes with this year’s new color announcement.
All 140,000 licensed taxis will be required to paint their vehicles “Rosa Mexicana” a color very similar to Pepto Bismol.
Taxi drivers are not only fuming about the color choice or the cost of a new paint job, they are also fuming over the confusion the one color system will cause. Currently Mexico City has white, gold, red, and green colored taxis. White taxis are associated with a taxi stand or company that can be telephoned for pickup, considered the safest taxis in a city where pirate or unlicensed drivers attempt to pick up fares on the street. One of the largest reasons for the city to require frequent color changes is to cut down on the pirate operators.
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The gold and red taxis are “street taxis” that are hailed on the streets without any set location of operation. The green taxis are older models and typically the dirtiest and most unsafe with bad reputations. However the color coding is being eliminated and all taxis will operate under one color.
With the announcement of pink taxis, the city also announced all buses will be painted purple.
In Mexico City there is also an uproar over the introduction of Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare services organized by phone apps cutting into taxi earnings, an issue that might make the uproar over the taxi colors moot as ridesharing gains popularity.