Another transport industry protest creates traffic jams in Los Cabos. This time around though, it wasn’t the uber drivers. Who by most accounts are still waging their hard fought battle with local authorities. This week though, it’s airport shuttles, and tourist group transport companies that are at odds with local authorities. The transport companies decided to launch a slow moving caravan in which multiple vans that typically carry tourists to and from the airport were present.
In total about 120 vans presumably from the 41 companies that are locked in this legal struggle with local authorities made up the bulk of the caravan. There were also at least a dozen Uber drivers who attended the protest in a sign of support to their colleagues. Around 10 am on the caravan filled with vans started to move slowly towards the San Jose del Cabo airport. Some confused drivers that were caught in the protest believed that there had been a traffic accident in the area. The slow moving caravan ultimately caused other drivers on the road to suffer time delays of up to an hour.
What Is This Airport Shuttle Protest About?
According to the airport shuttle drivers in the protest the local authorities introduced a new permit requirement to allow these shuttles to operate in the road that leads to the airport. Any shuttle that doesn’t pay for the official permit will be potentially detained, and fined up to 40,000 MXN. (almost 2,000 USD). What the protesters claim though is that the authorities have not allowed them to even access these permits.
The mandatory use of these permits was set to take effect in a matter of 30 days since the requirement was passed. It’s been 32 days, and shuttle companies have not received the permits that they mention they’ve solicited. To sum things up, the shuttle services say that they are not necessarily against having to pay an extra fee to legally provide their services. Their issue is that they are not even being granted the opportunity to make the payment, and get their papers in order to operate as is required under the new law.
Adrian Garcia Mendoza who is the official spokesperson of the Tourist Transportation Union in Los Cabos points the finger at taxi companies. Whom, he claims have been colluding with the local government to make it harder for airport shuttles, and ubers to operate in the area. Garcia Mendoza detailed the situation to local media saying,
“When they (local authorities) say that no one is above the law, the first ones that feel they are above the law, are them, and their union. The state government gave the taxi drivers their updated license plates to meet the new guidelines on time. We, on the other hand, solicited the new documents, and they had 30 days to respond. It’s been 32, and Mr. Martin Ceseña (Director of State Transport Affairs) has not responded.”
The Protesters Apologized For The Traffic Delays
Causing massive traffic delays may not necessarily be a great way to gain public support for any cause. The airport shuttle companies are well aware of that, and therefore also apologized to the public for the inconveniences they caysed. Spokesperson Garcia Mendoza questioned the public about what they would do if the government was threatening their livelihood. While proceeding to say that this was the best way they found to stand up for themselves.
In the apology, he also mentioned that local authorities may be breaching privacy laws. Saying that their companies are obligated to pass along personal details of passengers who book their services online to local authorities. This is a practice that he mentions the companies do in good faith. There is no set law though that would technically obligate them to do this.
*Correction: In an article earlier this week, it mistakenly reported Uber drivers were the cause of the disruption when in fact it was airport shuttles.