Have you wondered what Playa Del Carmen taxis think about Uber? What is their main objection to Uber operating in the Riviera Maya? What does the taxi union think about public relations? We worked hard to get a rare opportunity to talk to the public relations of the Sindicato de Taxistas in Playa Del Carmen. We got to ask all the questions many of you wondered. Here is our interview.
Playa Del Carmen Taxis, Uber and Public Relations Interview
Here is the video we made for you. We tried to include most of the original video. We did get to talk to them for an extended time and we needed to edit it down to a manageable length. Below the video we discuss things more in length.
What is the main objection to Uber coming to the Rivera Maya?
As you heard in the video the main objection is the what they believe the law to state about needing a special concession from the government. The Taxi Union states that Article 31 Bis states the need for government approval and licensing of transport that acts like a taxi service. To read what Article 31 is you can read it in Spanish here.
The use of Uber with drivers that do not have to pay special licenses and have permits brings concern of unfair competition. Uber also brings questions of taxes and how drivers will tribute to the collection of taxes.
What do airport transfer companies think of Uber in Cancun?
We also went to Cancun to talk to one manager of an airport transportation company. We asked Mr. Flores what his opinion was of Uber coming to Cancun. Mr. Flores stated that he likes completion and thinks that is a good thing. He did continue by saying it is good to have services that people like. He did however state that other companies like his have to pay fees and licenses to enter certain areas and pick up people. This creates an unfair situation and burden for his company.
What is required of Playa Del Carmen taxis?
At the heart of the discussion of fair competition is what is required of taxi drivers and other transportation companies. Here are is a beak down of some of the fees taxi drivers in Playa Del Carmen are required to pay.
- A one time Union Fee of about 30,000-35,000 pesos.
- Special taxi drivers license each year of about 1000 pesos.
- Insurance for your car that covers a taxi- about 12,000-13,000 pesos a year.
- If you do not own a car you pay between 300-600 pesos a day for the car.
- Taxi plates for the car, 8000 pesos a month.
- Then there are the other things like maintenance, gas, union fees
So you can see with the expenses taxi drivers in Playa Del Carmen have to pay out substantial.
What have some taxi drivers done to improve service?
You might ask yourself, well if the Playa Del Carmen taxi drivers knew there was a chance Uber was coming, why did they not improve service? Public opinion of the taxis in Playa Del Carmen is low and often a topic of conversation online. A lot of public sentiment is very pro Uber because it challenges the current system.
One that has been done is establish a new Public Relations Department. There are seven people that work in this department. They have the job of expanding service to hotels and working with transforming some of the perceptions of the taxis in Playa Del Carmen. This was launched in the spring of 2016.
There have been some drivers that are concerned about providing good service for people in Playa Del Carmen. One group of taxi drivers have formed TaxiPlaya. This is a WhatsApp taxi service that you can send a message to. Taxi drivers are invited to this group that will give good service to customers and honor prices. You are guaranteed the prices stated on the taxi charts. For this service you pay 10 pesos on the normal fare.
The new world of business and the sharing economy
The world of business crosses international borders and new things are at your fingertips of your phone, the world is changing. Sometimes it is too fast for laws to keep up with or tax regulations. When things change there are people that get caught in the transition. We can see how the taxi drivers are caught between the laws, union, governor and demands of the people.
The sharing economy is brining new opportunities to people to rent their spaces and transport differently. This new sharing is also bring problems that only become evident later.
Change takes time and one thing we all can do is be empathetic to the situation of others. True it is easy to dislike the service of many taxi drivers but there are others that love their job and take pride in it. Sometimes when we know more of the situation we can be more understanding.
Will Uber come to Playa Del Carmen?
It will be a matter of time to see if Uber comes to Playa Del Carmen. It will depend on several things. It will depend on the government of the State of Quintana Roo, the laws on the books, the judicial department to judge the laws and some to do with the will of the people. It will be an interesting road ahead. The only thing constant is change itself. We will be here on the forefront seeing how this unfolds and will keep you up to date on everything.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Uber will come to Playa Del Carmen? Is there a fair way to allow competition between Playa Del Carmen taxis and Uber? Let us know in the comments below.
You didn´t ask the salient questions. Why do I have to pay 70 pesos for a ride home from the bus station when I can walk 1/2 block to 10th ave and pay 30 pesos?
Hello Charles. Are you referring to the taxi stand by the bus station? If so we did ask that question directly to them about what is the official upcharge for the taxi stands. The official price is 5 pesos more. So if the taxi price in center is 25 pesos you would pay 30 from the bus station taxi stand. Of course it is well know that many of the taxis over charge from this location. We have walked to 10th and even been told high prices there just because it is close to the bus station. This is something they need to address and work on.
I paid 90 from Juarez bus station 12 blocks. I am a local but was so tired and bogged down with luggage ,I did it. I always ask before I get in. They will try everytime to get a bit more.
Ask to show you tax invoice how much taxes they have payed in last 6 years.
With Uber, you know what your paying.
With taxis, you know there going to lie and charge you more.
They can only blame themselves.
I think the taxis don’t know how much people despise them. I think if the taxis in Playa Del Carmen got meters this would help the situation. I get told different prices all the time and because I cannot walk more than 10 blocks because of my condition I take taxis often in Playa.
One way or another the taxis will have to change their ways. People will always need them because some people do not have the money to buy a smart phone and people cannot afford to have them to use Uber. There are other times when it is just fast to jump in cab without going through the hassle to order a car to come.
I think the taxis should modernize but the principal is people that work for Uber pay taxes for the country they work in. Taxis should of been smart a long time ago to clean up their act and treat people fairly. It is karma coming home to roost.
I can see both sides of the debate. I hope lawmakers can make it a fair playing field for everyone.
I actually think it is sad how much people complain about the taxi drivers. When we were in Playa we took taxis a lot, and yes, we were overcharged, about 20 pesos each time. But you know what? It was really hot, we were tired, and we tip taxi drivers here at home, so we didn’t think it was a big deal. These drivers are just normal people trying to support their families. Nobody is getting rich overcharging 20 pesos. Besides, we were there in September, so obviously it was a slow time, and there were taxis everywhere, all these people standing around making no money because there weren’t enough tourists.
In my opinion, The problem is the high prices the taxi drivers have to pay to the syndicate and plate owners to operate. It’s crazy compared to how optional taxes are for other small businesses and self employed people here. the taxi plates are like gold, the people who own the plates and taxis rent them out like commercial real estate to the drivers. the syndicate and plate owners would be the real losers with Uber the drivers would actually do better with Uber. The syndicate maintains a transportation monopoly here in Quintana Roo and especially in areas like Playacar where they strictly limit the access of cheap transportation like bikes or Uber.
You can see from this list how much money is at stake (mostly not tax revenue):
A one time Union Fee of about 30,000-35,000 pesos.
Special taxi drivers license each year of about 1000 pesos.
Insurance for your car that covers a taxi- about 12,000-13,000 pesos a year.
If you do not own a car you pay between 300-600 pesos a day for the car.
Taxi plates for the car, 8000 pesos a month.
Then there are the other things like maintenance, gas, union fees
This would be like the hotel industry here banning AirBNB. Virtual businesses like Uber and Air BNB are the future because they allow us to pass on more value to our customers.