The Taxi Union of Puerto Vallarta held a news conference on the heels of an announcement from UBER that they will be operating in the tourist destination. At the news conference, the Taxi unions committed to publishing their rates, visual driver credentials, better service and acquiring new vehicles, including hybrids.
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The Taxi Union has been successful over the last three years in keeping UBER out of the city, but on Monday the ride-sharing company surprised users with an announcement that they were seeking drivers for the popular Mexican beach destination.
While taxi drivers have promised to protest the arrival of UBER with blockades and protests, the arrival of the service has been expected for years.
Taxi services in Puerto Vallarta have been widely criticized for their price gauging of foreigners, erratic driving habits, violence, and willingness to sell drugs to their passengers.
“During my time in Puerto Vallarta, I have been offered drugs from area taxi drivers on an almost regular basis and have witnessed drivers having fist fights in the middle of the street over picking up fares and who arrived on the corner first,” one resident of Puerto Vallarta tells PVDN. “This isn’t every taxi driver, but enough that it should concern the people of Puerto Vallarta. If it takes UBER to force a cleanup of the local taxi services, it could be a good thing for our image with tourists,” he adds.
Taxi drivers also form partnerships with local businesses that encourage drivers to confuse tourists and deliver them to the wrong destinations and to the doorstep of the businesses willing to pay a commission to the taxi drivers.
As a personal experience, and owner of PVDN, when I first arrived in the city a decade ago, my first taxi ride was from the Hotel Zone, where I was living, to Archie’s Wok in the Romantic Zone. I informed the driver of my location, but it wasn’t until we arrived in the Romantic Zone that he told me that Archie’s Wok was out of business but he delivered me to the doorstep of La Palapa and recommended I eat there. I thought it was strange that the taxi driver walked me into La Palapa and told the host his name. It only made sense later when I took an after dinner walk and saw Archie’s Wok nearby, and open.
The arrival of UBER in Mexico has forced changes in transportation services in places like Guadalajara and Mexico City over the last several years with increased competition from the private sector.
However, the arrival of competition to the taxi and bus services in Mexico hasn’t been easy and never happens without protests and disruptions to transportation services.