The U.S. State Department late last month issued an ominous warning to travelers visiting the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, advising them to avoid rideshare apps such as Uber and Cabify, a Spanish company that operates in Latin America.
While the app can be found in more than 10,000 cities around the world, the State Department said it discouraged tourists from using Uber in Cancun, which has seen an uptick in hostility towards rideshare drivers.
Here’s the State Department’s warning:
In the wake of recent incidents involving taxi and Uber drivers in Quintana Roo, U.S. citizens are reminded of guidance provided on Travel.State.gov, specifically about the use of application-based transportation services in Mexico, which states: Application-based car services such as Uber and Cabify are available in many Mexican cities, and generally offer another safe alternative to taxis. Official complaints against Uber and other drivers do occur, however, and past disputes between these services and local taxi unions have occasionally turned violent, resulting in injuries to U.S. citizens in some instances.
Why has this warning been sent now? There has been brewing tension between local taxicab unions, who have protested that rideshares should be subject to the same rules they are and should be ordered to have business licenses, thus giving rideshare apps an unfair advantage over taxi drivers. Such tension has spilled out from the airport to popular tourist attractions such as the Kukulcán boulevard in the hotel district.
Travelers who have visited Cancun in the past may remember that rideshare options weren’t readily available from Cancun Airport. Rideshares had been blocked from operating in Cancun until recently when a judge’s court order allowed rideshare apps like Uber and Cabify to operate legally in the area. Uber responded favorably to the ruling, saying that the company maintained that it did not require a public transport concession to operate in the area, according to a report from the Cancun Sun, a local media outlet.
High costs, coupled with aggressive tactics by drivers at the airport, have prompted some travelers to forgo medallion taxicabs in favor of much-cheaper rideshare apps.
Uber, for its part, hasn’t made mention of any turmoil on its Cancun page, instead providing a map of where Uber operates in the Quintana Roo region and offering price estimates for fares in the area. For…
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