State Dept. warns Cancún guests in opposition to Ubers as taxis protest

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The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico on Monday issued a safety alert for the state of Quintana Roo — house to Cancún, the Riviera Maya and Tulum — warning that hiring application-based automobile providers comparable to Uber and Cabify may put passengers liable to getting caught in a tense trade between drivers competing for fares.

Whereas the State Division has stated transportation apps “generally offer another safe alternative to taxis,” latest disputes between drivers for the apps and taxi unions “have occasionally turned violent, resulting in injuries to U.S. citizens in some instances,” the alert learn.

The journey alert got here because the area’s licensed taxi drivers have been protesting by blocking the highway to Cancun’s resort zone, resulting in vacationers abandoning rides to stroll to the airport or get escorted by police, La Jornada newspaper reported.

Based on Cecilia Román Quijas, head of security communications for Uber Mexico, the corporate has groups within the United States and Mexico devoted to working with police and offering clients 24/7 help.

Román stated in an e mail it’s vital to make clear that the alert was particular to Cancún due to “widely publicized incidents in a very specific tourist destination.” She pointed to the State Division’s common journey advisories, which she stated “repeatedly refer to Uber as a safe alternative throughout the country.”

Natalia de la Rosa Hilario, a meals author and operations chief for the Mexico food-tour firm Membership Tengo Hambre, says battle between the native taxi trade and Uber will not be new. With protests going again practically a decade, “it started since Uber got to Mexico,” she stated.

Frank Harrison, regional safety director for the Americas at World Journey Safety, a journey risk-management firm, agreed that the present points in Cancún and Quintana Roo are simply the most recent flash level within the nationwide anti-Uber sentiment throughout the taxi trade.

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De la Rosa Hilario stated there are benefits to utilizing Uber for vacationers visiting Mexico, mentioning the app can really feel safer for ladies as a result of the driving force is tracked, you possibly can see the place you’re going and also you don’t need to trade money.

However “don’t get me wrong — Uber is not the best, either,” de la Rosa Hilario stated. She acknowledges that comparable start-ups use surge-pricing practices and may threaten licensed taxi drivers’ livelihood.

Román stated that the protection options in Uber’s U.S. app are additionally accessible to riders and drivers in Mexico. That features an in-app emergency button to name 911, Share My Journey and RideCheck (which senses lengthy delays or route deviations), amongst others.

Harrison stated whereas Uber is a most well-liked transportation possibility for a lot of American vacationers, anybody utilizing the app or comparable providers want to know the native sentiment. Being a taxi firm or a driver requires licensing, charges and inspections, Harrison famous. He added that drivers take pleasure of their service and will resent transportation start-ups.

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Whereas Harrison stated he prefers utilizing licensed taxi drivers when touring — they could be a useful supply of native data and proposals — he additionally recommends checking to see whether or not your resort has a courtesy shuttle or can prepare a pickup for you with a trusted driver.

Sadly, Harrison stated, there are points with each faux Ubers and taxis to be cautious of in Mexico. Should you’ve found you’re coping with a nasty experience, he stated, it’s best to get out of the automobile, try to take an image of the registration code and report it to the native vacationer police.

In an e mail to The Submit, a State Division spokesperson reiterated the knowledge within the alert and inspired anybody planning a visit to Mexico to learn the complete journey advisory for the nation on its web site.

“We also encourage U.S. citizens traveling overseas to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP.state.gov) to receive important messages about their destination(s) directly, including timely Alerts and updates to Travel Advisories,” the e-mail stated.

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