Mototaxis, another monster that grows


The service has become a highly lucrative entity that, despite the regularization process that is being carried out, remains plagued by interests, corruption and impunity between unions and road authorities.

The motorcycle taxi service has exceeded the limits of tolerance and has become a lucrative entity, of interests, corruption and impunity between unions and road authorities in the state and in municipalities such as Benito Juárez, where a complete support of anarchy that has existed in public transport in general for several years.

For a long time, this segment of tolerated transportation, which already exceeds more than eight thousand units in the state, of which 70% operate between Cancun and Isla Mujeres (the mainland and the area surrounding Benito Juárez), has been used as political booty in electoral processes, during which numerous candidates have offered them the regularization of the service repeatedly.

In fact, there is a risk that in a short time they may even have the same political force that the “Andrés Quintana Roo” Taxi Drivers Union once had, with the difference that they will not be a single union, but many more.

And today, the State Government is already looking for through the Quintana Roo Mobility Institute (IMOVEQROO) after the recent modifications to the law approved by the XVII State Legislature, more corruption that involve municipal officials come out to light and state, but above all to representatives of the same unions, who demand payments between 20, 30 and up to 40 thousand pesos to the owners of mototaxis to be able to be included in the regularization program that is already in process.

Among the groups that have profited the most from this service are the “Workers and Farmers Union Federation” (FESOC), the “Revolutionary Workers Confederation” (COR), the “Revolutionary Workers and Farmers Confederation” (CROC) and even the “Mexican Workers Confederation” ( CTM), as well as the “Autonomous Confederation of Workers and Employees of Mexico” (CATEM) that have charged 10, 15 and up to 20 thousand pesos for the assignment of a number (operating permit) to be able to work in the area that the applicant requires.

In some cases, the union members themselves have denounced fraud, as occurred within the FESOC two years ago, when one of the leaders of thie union, identified as Enrique Sotelo, was accused of perpetrating fraud on behalf of the organization for 4.5 million pesos, as revealed at the time by Eriselda Vázquez Maldonado, Undersecretary of Labor of the organization.

According to members of the Quintana Roo Bar Association, the same authority has allowed the growth of groups through the protection of unions, and the seizure of a service that is necessary in some areas of the city, and which originally began with modify motorcycles that allowed people with disabilities who could not work in something else to work.

This is an issue that exceeded the authorities for many years and that was in clear growth due to the ambition of the leaders of the motorcycle taxi unions that operate in Quintana Roo, which ended up flooding the streets with unsafe and ineffective transportation.

After the Congress of Quintana Roo approved modifications to the Mobility Law to legalize the motorcycle taxi service, since the second half of January of this year IMOVEQROO, directed by Luis Rodrigo Alcázar Urrutia, who was previously director of Transportation and Roads in Benito Juárez and also director of Municipal Transit, began a program of census of motorcycle taxi units to know the precise number that operates in the 11 municipalities and therefore he has an official register that allows the issuance of permits under the conditions of the law in force.

The official figures speak of around 4,500 motaxis in the entity, but unofficially it is known that there are more than 8,000 and that 70% of them would be in the northern zone, particularly in the municipalities of Benito Juárez and Isla Mujeres.

But it was also revealed that within this census process, which officially concluded at the end of last February, a series of irregularities occurred involving IMOVEQROO officials, who were charging up to five thousand pesos to validate the record, as well as leaders of the various unions that have controlled the motorcycle taxis all along and who, for their part, were demanding cash payments from 20, 30 and up to 40 thousand pesos for each unit owner.

Given this, El Despertador de Quintana Roo went to the Benito Juárez delegation of said state agency, located in super manzana 22, to arrange an interview with the person in charge in Cancun, Manuel Jesús Puerto Castillo, but it was announced that there was no attention to the press and that any request for information would have to be made through the person in charge of social communication, Paygan Miranda, through the telephone number 5536073541, which was done, and although she promised to provide the information, nothing has happened, despite the new insistence that it was intended to provide the official version of IMOVEQROO.

The idea was that the agency would explain the mechanism used to develop the census, give the real numbers of motorcycle taxis and, above all, the conditions in which they can now operate in accordance with the rules of the new law, which establishes that the Service would be limited to popular neighborhoods, rural communities, through local or dirt roads that the authority determines, in accordance with the urban planning instruments in force in each municipality.

In addition, why was the strict prohibition for the circulation of any of these vehicles in the areas classified as hotel or tourist, insular or primary avenues that in the case of Cancun would be José López Portillo, Arco Vial, Tulum, Andrés Quintana Roo, Kabah, among others.

Without control, much less an official rate

As a clear example of the lucrative business that the motorcycle taxi represents for some, today the payments are as high as those of a taxi, since the operator must pay 300 and up to 450 pesos per day (depending on the model of the taxi and area of operation) per working day that starts from five in the morning until 10 or 11 p.m.

However, there are areas of the city where piracy is practiced and they operate outside the “authorized” hours until after midnight, especially in areas where there are public transport stops where staff from the hotel zone arrive who need to go to their homes.

All this occurs under the protection of the unions and the complicity of the authorities themselves, since the motorcycle taxi service that began charging 10 pesos and a maximum of 20 pesos, currently costs an average of between 40 and 50 pesos, even equaling the taxi rate and in some cases even exceeding it.

For example, from Paraíso Maya to the Colegio de Bachilleres Campel Cuatro, which is in Prado Norte, motorcycle taxis charge from 60 to 70 pesos, when a taxi asks for a minimum of 50 pesos.

In addition, there is no order in terms of its operation because while some refuse to take passage from one subdivision to another, no matter how close it is, others do accept but raise their costs, since only from Kusamil to Arco Norte square they ask from 90 to 100 pesos.

Insurance, completely unknown

Unlike the insurance required of other public transport services, which must at least cover damage to third parties, most motorcycle taxis do not have this document, which does not guarantee the safety of the operators, much less of the users.

In its beginnings, Santiago Martínez Tenorio, then leader of the COR in Quintana Roo, acknowledged in an interview that until the mototaxi service was not regulated, they would not be able to count on insurance like other means of transportation.

Therefore, he explained that the only way was to obtain community insurance, requested through the union, but this does not guarantee the safety of the operators, much less the passengers.

According to the Mexican Association of Insurance Institutions (AMIS), up to now there is no specific insurance policy for this means of transport, used today in many cities in the country and which in Quintana Roo has been the object of shady interests between unions and authorities.

For this reason, the fragile structures of these vehicles and the willingness of the owners to repair damage is the only thing that protects passengers during the journeys.

Based on information from the Municipal Secretary of Public Safety and Transit, during 2022, 74 incidents with motorcycle taxis were reported, but the months with the highest number of crashes were during the second half of the year, in September and December, with 10 cases each, which makes it clear that it is becoming increasingly unsafe to travel in them.

According to Quálitas, a well-known insurance company, it is essential to consider that if a motorcycle has a private vehicle policy and is used as a public passenger service, at the time of an incident the damage will not be covered since specific protection is required.

It is noteworthy that some areas where these types of incidents are reported the most are in the northern part of the city, such as the Tres Reyes neighborhood, super manzana 251, region 107, which includes the Paraíso Maya, Urbi and part Kusamil, as well as the Paseos del Mar, Cielo Nuevo and Villas del Mar housing complexes.

The areas with more mototaxis is in the northwestern zone and the entire periphery of Cancun, where population growth is explosive, such as the Arco Norte from the Universidad del Caribe to the highway to Mérida, where there are housing units such as Villas del Mar, Ciudad Natura, Arcos Paraíso, Privadas Sacbé, Casas del Mar, Nicté Ha, La Victoria, Cenote Azul, Prado Norte, among others, where, in addition to the profile of the inhabitants and the connectivity of the area, the activity becomes a juicy business.

Deputies recognize electoral implications

A group of legislators headed by Hugo Alday Nieto, Guillermo Brahms and Ricardo Velazco, who are part of the so-called “plural bloc” of the State Congress, who voted in favor of regulating the motorcycle taxi service, forgot to establish measures to make sure IMOVEQROO enforces the law.

In addition, they recognize that for many years motorcycle taxi drivers have been used with electoral overtones by the large number that are already in the entity, especially in the northern part of Quintana Roo, such as Benito Juárez.

“For decades they were used for electoral purposes but the step of recognizing them and allowing them to circulate legally was never been taken, that is, their existence was known, but it was not regulated,” said Hugo Alday.

At the same time, Ricardo Velazco maintains that now, with the modified law, “IMOVEQROO’s great challenge is to apply the law and, derived from that, the transport regulation.”

He recognized that the motorcycle taxi service arose from a need for transportation on the outskirts of the city where the carriers did not provide coverage to those areas.

“The people who took advantage arose through the classic unionism that has existed for many years in the state, they set up cooperatives with no purpose other than profit,” he said.

While Guillermo Brahms highlighted that today motorcycle taxis are in the process of becoming permit holders for the transport of people, but they are not concessionaires, neither municipal nor state government, and “they must provide the service in the areas where they are required, because It is not safe for anyone, neither for drivers nor for people in certain areas.”

The motorcycle taxis arose from the need to support disabled people in their economy so that they could provide this service in the vicinity of the newly created neighborhoods, located on the outskirts of the city.

At first, they were modified motorcycles, that is, units equipped with black bed that allows them to place their wheelchairs and be able to drive the vehicle with enough space to carry passengers.

However, soon after, other groups who saw great business in this sector entered and for this they brought units that in the state of Tabasco are known as “Pochimóviles” and after a few months they multiplied like a plague throughout the city.

In recent days, El Despertador de Quintana Roo spoke with some operators of the disabled groups that operate motorcycle taxis at a site on Tules Avenue, in Region 248, who denounced that their income dropped by up to 70% with the entry of the new units.

Luis Arturo Morales Orama, founder and member of the society “Libertad y Superación Sobre Ruedas”, explained that with the issue of the census and the new Mobility Law, they hope to be regulated, but regretted that unlike the other groups, they put more restrictions on them.

“The truth is that they have displaced us, they have let us down, we had a leader who abandoned us and went with the others because he saw there was more money there and they invaded our work area,” he explained.

He maintained that if the authorities speak of social justice, “this must be for us who cannot work elsewhere due to our physical condition, we started these services and today they have pushed us aside, they have displaced us from outside the plazas and supermarkets, even schools where the others have made room and do not let us pick up passengers, they have invaded all the spaces”.

Members of different motorcycle taxi unions that operate in Quintana Roo have accused that their union leaders have been forcing them to pay from 30,000 to 40,000 pesos for “membership” for each vehicle they want to register for regularization, even though the IMOVEQROO has already completed the process.

El Despertador de Quintana Roo was able to talk with some motorcycle taxi drivers attached to the FESOC, who accused Leopoldo Arias, who is also the mobility delegate, pressuring them to pay the fees and that if they want to ensure their regularization before IMOVEQROO they will have to pay up to 20 thousand pesos.

In the same way, they pointed out that he was taking advantage of his appointment as mobility delegate, since he has also undertaken a great business by being a provider of motorcycle taxis that brings from Tabasco constantly, some new and others already used.

Leopoldo Arias is a clear example of opportunism on the issue of tolerated transportation, since a few years ago he led a group of passenger carriers that operate in the El Crucero area.

And although there is an “agreement” between all the motorcycle taxi unions, especially at this stage in which they are in the process of regularization so that there are no attacks or conflicts, the struggles between the operators continue regarding invading their territories.

For this reason, today motorcycle taxis operate in different colors, that is, there are yellow units, other purple, pink, red, green, blue, orange, silver, and gold units, which distinguish them according to their respective area and organization.

Crime is already embedded in the motorcycle taxi

As has happened with taxi drivers and other items of public transport, the motorcycle taxi has also been penetrated by criminal groups that use the units to do their own thing.

Just last November, three motorcycle taxi drivers were shot to death in a single week and even in July 2022 a leader of these drivers was murdered in front of her house in the Tierra Maya subdivision, when armed civilians on a motorcycle shot him eight times.

Given all of the above, a group of motorcycle taxi drivers held a demonstration outside the State Deputy Attorney General’s Office, demanding that the facts be clarified and that the authorities support them with more vigilance in their areas of operations.

Source: El Despertador de Quintana Roo