Taxi beef in Mexico: U.S. issues advisory for travelers

Cancun travelers should be on alert.

Cancun travelers should be on alert.

Photo courtesy of Darren Tierney, Shutterstock.

Planning on visiting Cancun, Mexico? Well, peeps, it’s best to figure out your transportation options before you get there. Taxi beef is real, and I wouldn’t chance getting caught up in some international drama.

Earlier this week, the U.S. State Department released a travel warning for Mexico’s Caribbean coast, which is dotted with resorts, after medallion taxi drivers began to antagonize and assault Uber drivers and their customers. The conflict is being caused by competition over profitable tourist rides.

“Official complaints against Uber and other drivers do occur … and past disputes between these services and local taxi unions have occasionally turned violent, resulting in injuries to U.S. citizens in some instances,” the warning noted.

On Monday, things got out of hand as taxi drivers in the resort town of Cancun obstructed Kukulcán Boulevard, a major thoroughfare leading to the city’s hotel zone. Some tourists had to walk or ride in police pickups to make their departure flights or check in, according to USA Today. This is a major hassle and we’re not here for it.

The Points Guy revealed that taxi drivers are fuming over a recent court ruling that legalizes Uber’s operation in Quintana Roo without a proper transportation license. The Supreme Court of Mexico ruled in 2021 that Uber does not qualify as a public transportation company and is therefore exempt from the same regulations that apply to taxi drivers. Taxi drivers were outraged by this news, as their fares are increased because their services are classified as public transportation.

Several videos posted to social media depict altercations between passengers and taxi and ride-hailing service drivers.

Protests have occurred before when competing modes of transportation have increased prices. French taxi drivers went on strike in 2016 because of competition from ridesharing apps. The violence at those protests shut down much of Paris.

There are other ways to get around once you reach Mexico’s popular tourist destinations. Some valuable recommendations can be found in the Cancun Sun.

Within Cancun’s hotel zone, for instance, tourists can take advantage of inexpensive bus and shuttle services. Private transportation to the Hotel Zone can be reserved for as little as $30 with services like Expedia or Viator. Even though it may cost a little more, you can get excellent recommendations for how to get around right now by contacting your hotel directly. Shouts to The Points Guy for the great suggestions as traveling overseas can be quite nerve-wracking.

Meanwhile, crime in Mexico has prompted the U.S. Department of State to issue a travel warning.

“In light of widely publicized security incidents in popular tourist destinations, please remember that all destinations have some level of risk,” the advisory stated.

It also advises tourists to review their own security plans, stay alert, follow the news in Mexico, and dial 911 immediately if they encounter any trouble.

Also available for free download is a “Guest Assist App” from the Quintana Roo Tourism Board. The app offers access to a 24/7 bilingual call center for visitor assistance, safety information, legal counsel, a complaint line, COVID-19 information, and legal advice.

The mayor of Cancun urged the taxi drivers, who were enraged by Uber drivers’ competition, to act responsibly.

“I am not going to allow a small group to damage the reputation of the resort and human safety,” Mayor Ana Patricia Peralta said in a recorded statement.

Evie Blanco is a journalist with nearly a decade of experience who was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Queens, New York. She is extremely well-versed in hip-hop music and culture and is always aware of any developments within it. Whether it’s the latest in pop culture, a fascinating foreign destination, a truly amazing new restaurant, or breaking news, she loves to write about it all.

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