Uber may have global ambitions, but the Mexican city of Guadalajara offers an example of how local resourcefulness can still hard to beat. By welding on extra features, including passenger seats, some Guadalajara entrepreneurs are turning electric rickshaws and scooters brought in from India and Italy into bike taxis that are giving Uber a run for its money.
Enhancing, or even assembling, ramshackle vehicles is nothing new in Mexico as anyone who has used a microbus in the capital will know. These buses and bike taxis, including many enhanced versions of the Italian scooter brand Piaggio, thrive in a country where millions can only afford cheap transport.
A rickshaw in Oaxaca, Mexico (2010) â€" Photo: Antti T. Nissinen
One seller in Zapopan, a western suburb of Guadalajara, told El Informador that a remodeled rickshaw can earn you 300 pesos ($16.50) a day, which can recoup the initial investment in just six months. Each one costs around 64,000 pesos ($3,500).
This mode of transport is not tightly regulated, and requires little paperwork for now; and while many avoid them for safety fears, they are already making some 46,000 trips a day in and around the city of some 1.5 million, reports El Informador, which is based in Guadalajara.
A salesman in Tlajomulco south of the city told the paper: "It's simple. If you buy an Uber, the car costs 160,000 pesos ($8,800). You have to pay for the application and rent the car out. The (motorized rickshaws) require so much less in startup costs, are three times more profitable ...and carry almost twice as many people as Uber."
A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.
A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."
The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.
Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."
Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021
Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021
Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?
The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.
The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.
The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."
The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."
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