MEXICO CITY – The US State Department on Monday issued a travel advisory for Mexico’s resort-strewn Caribbean coast after medallion cab drivers began harassing and attacking drivers of the ride-hailing app Uber and their customers.
Taxi drivers even blocked one of the main roads leading to the hotel district in the resort town of Cancun on Monday. This forced some tourists to walk or ride in police pickups to pick up or check in their flights.
The State Department told travelers that “in the past, disputes between these services and local taxi unions have occasionally turned violent, resulting in injuries to US citizens in some cases.”
The Cancun Police Department shared photos of travelers getting into the back of police trucks and said, “Given the blockages on Kukulcan Boulevard, our transit officers have been helping people get to the airport.”
Cancun’s mayor urged taxi drivers – who were angered by competition from Uber drivers – to show restraint.
“I will not allow a small group to damage the resort’s reputation and people’s safety,” Mayor Ana Patricia Peralta said in a recorded message.
Social media sites have been full of videos over the past two days showing tourists being verbally abused – and in one case apparently abused – by groups of several uniformed taxi drivers.
“It’s illegal, illegal,” a taxi driver can be heard shouting at a family of tourists.
In fact, ride-hailing apps were blocked in Cancun until earlier this month, when a court issued an injunction allowing Uber to operate.
Given the high cost of local medallion cabs in Cancun, many travelers prefer to use apps.
Some Cancun residents also posted videos or photos of taxis circling suspected ridesharing opportunities, and one man said he was taking a few people when his car was stoned and dented by taxi drivers.
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