Nearly a year on, Mexico City Uber regulation stuck in neutral

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A Mexico City government fund aimed at collecting 1.5 percent of revenue from car-hailing services such as Uber has still not been created, nearly a year after the metropolis became the first Latin American city to regulate rideshare apps.

Uber riders and driver-partners hold signs during a national demonstration against the reduction of user tariffs in the service app at the Estela de Luz monument in Mexico City, January 22, 2016. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

In July 2015, two years after Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] entered Mexico City and upset taxi unions, the city government announced a deal to allow Uber and rivals such as Cabify to legally operate, with a share of their revenue destined for a specially created, though vaguely defined transport fund.

The Mexican capital, however, has yet to complete a register of the taxi apps’ fleets needed to set up the fund, according to public information requests filed by Reuters.

“At present, the creation of the fund for the Taxi, Mobility and the Pedestrian is still under way,” the Mexico City transport department said in one response.

There is no time schedule for the fund’s creation, and rideshare companies continue to operate in the meantime.

Still, neither the city’s transport nor the Finance Ministry had any record of any transport fund board meetings, or even who was on the board, according to public information requests.

Mexico City finance department officials declined to comment on the fund, directing questions to the transport department. The transport department said the fund was the finance department’s responsibility and directed questions there.

Luis de Uriarte, Uber’s Mexico spokesman, said the final details of the fund were being decided with the city’s finance department.

“Once that’s ready, we’ll make the corresponding deposit,” he said.

Uber and Cabify declined to provide figures on how much they should have paid into the fund. In March, Uber said it has 39,000 affiliated drivers in the country, and that the Mexican capital is its largest business in Latin America.

It is almost impossible to estimate how much the fund should have collected by now, experts say, as the privately owned rideshare companies declined to share data.

But Daniel Medina, a spokesman for the Taxistas Organizados de la Ciudad de Mexico, a local cab drivers’ union, estimated it could be as much as 45 million pesos ($2.38 million).

Writing by Gabriel Stargardter