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State Dept. warns Cancun guests towards Ubers as taxis protest

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The US Embassy and Consulates in Mexico on Monday issued a safety alert for the state of Quintana Roo — dwelling to Cancún, the Riviera Maya and Tulum — warning that hiring application-based automotive providers resembling Uber and Cabify may put passengers prone to getting Caught in a tense change between drivers competing for fares.

Whereas the State Division has mentioned transportation apps “typically provide one other secure different to taxis,” current disputes between drivers for the apps and taxi unions “have sometimes turned violent, leading to accidents to US residents in some cases,” 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 lodge zone, resulting in vacationers abandoning rides to stroll to the airport or get escorted by police, La Jornada newspaper reported.

In keeping with Cecilia Román Quijas, head of security communications for Uber Mexico, the corporate has groups in the USA and Mexico devoted to working with police and offering prospects 24/7 help.

Román mentioned in an electronic mail it is essential to make clear that the alert was particular to Cancun due to “broadly publicized incidents in a really particular vacationer vacation spot.” She pointed to the State Division’s common journey advisories, which she mentioned “repeatedly discuss with Uber as a secure different all through the nation.”

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 usually are not new. With protests going again practically a decade, “it began since Uber received to Mexico,” she mentioned.

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 newest flash level within the nationwide anti-Uber sentiment inside the taxi trade.

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De la Rosa Hilario mentioned there are benefits to utilizing Uber for vacationers visiting Mexico, declaring the app can really feel safer for girls as a result of the motive force is tracked, you’ll be able to see the place you are going and you do not have to change money.

However “do not get me incorrect — Uber is just not the most effective, both,” de la Rosa Hilario mentioned. She acknowledges that comparable start-ups use surge-pricing practices and might threaten licensed taxi drivers’ livelihood.

Román mentioned that the security options in Uber’s US app are additionally obtainable 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 mentioned whereas Uber is a most well-liked transportation choice for a lot of American vacationers, anybody utilizing the app or comparable providers want to grasp 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 should resent transportation start-ups.

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

Sadly, Harrison mentioned, there are points with each pretend Ubers and taxis to be cautious of in Mexico. For those who’ve found you are coping with a foul journey, he mentioned, it is best to get out of the automotive, try and take an image of the license plate and report it to the native vacationer police.

In an electronic mail to The Put up, a State Division spokesperson reiterated the data 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 additionally encourage US residents touring abroad to enroll within the Good Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP.state.gov) to obtain essential messages about their vacation spot(s) immediately, together with well timed Alerts and updates to Journey Advisories,” the e-mail mentioned.

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