SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Drivers with the “Red and Black” taxi group in Tijuana blocked as many as eight traffic lanes leading into the San Ysidro Port of Entry disrupting the Friday morning commute for many who cross the border daily.
The drivers say they are trying to pressure Baja California’s governor into helping them solve a work dispute with the city of Tijuana, which has told the drivers that soon, they won’t be able to pick up fares along the heavily traveled Aguacaliente-Díaz Ordaz Boulevard.
The city of Tijuana and the state of Baja California are in the process of creating a mass-transit line with 34 stops along the length of the boulevard to serve the public.
Both have said having the taxis share the road is not practical and would generate a lot more congestion.
During the blockade at the border, many commuters sounded their horns and got into screaming matches with the drivers who stood their ground.
Witnesses told the El Sol Newspaper in Tijuana that members of Mexico’s National Guard tried to prevent the protesters from blocking traffic lanes at the border crossing, but failed to contain the disgruntled taxi drivers.
Vendors who work along the traffic lanes also got into heated arguments with the drivers saying the demonstration was hurting their business, and Tijuana police officers had to intervene.
Joaquín Baltazar Sanabria, the head of the Red and Black taxi group, said the blockade was done as a way to be heard by those in government.
The demonstration lasted about two hours.
It ended when a city official convinced the drivers to move their cars after agreeing to meet with them at city hall to iron out their grievances.
Baja California Gov. Marina del Pilar stated the blockade was not going to help the taxi drivers, saying: “Coercion nor events impacting the public will not be tolerated.”
Other drivers with the same group created a blockage on the free highway that leads from Tijuana to the city of Tecate, about 60 miles to the east.
The drivers have promised to keep blocking traffic in areas throughout the city of Tijuana until the issue is resolved.