The controversy over online cab service Uber has taken a violent turn in Mexico City, where traditional taxi drivers – worried that their business will become extinct – have threatened and attacked these freelance drivers and even smashed up their cars in the hope of driving them off their turf.
Uber, which lets practically anyone with a car work as a driver, and its competitor Cabify have become the bane of Mexico City's taxi drivers, who operate the largest fleet in the world, with 140,000 registered cabs. Their distress has boiled over from run-of-the-mill protests to full-out attacks and threats of even more retribution.
"We are not going to leave (Uber cars) alone. We are tracking these colleagues and hunting them down," Esteban Meza, a leader of one of the city's taxi unions, told El Universal. "Without doubt this is going to generate big trouble," he added.
While disputes over Uber, a billion-dollar global business, have arisen in cities as far flung as Chicago, Berlin and Manila, Mexico City's already factional cab services have taken the furor to a new level as established taxi drivers complain that the "pirate" cabs are skirting rules and dodging payments for permits and other tariffs.