For almost a year there has been a battle raging in Cancun between Uber and the local taxi drivers, one that has at times turned confrontational and ugly, impacting travelers’ ability to travel safely to the airport when using ride-hailing apps.
While the heat has died down greatly, the issues raised by taxi drivers up until now haven’t been addressed in any meaningful way.
Thankfully, a solution is on its way that is expected to calm the storm for good finally.
A Solution In The Making
It’s expected that by Christmas, unforeseen delays excluded, travelers arriving in Cancun will be able to order their airport transfers from the ride-hailing apps of Uber, Didi, and Cabify.
This will be an official allowance for these companies to operate pick-ups directly at the airport, just the same as the taxi drivers currently are able to.
In return for this acceptance into the airport ride-hailing market, the allowed companies will come under new regulations across the state of Quintana Roo (home to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and the Riviera Maya).
A fee will be placed on every ride-hailing service pick-up at the airport, which will then be distributed out to licensed taxi drivers to help create a balance between allowing this service to operate at the airport and protecting the livelihoods of the taxi drivers who rely on the airport to Cancun route.
On top of this, all ride-hailing apps in the state will now be subject to regulation that ensures fair pricing structures.
A huge issue seen across the world is Uber’s aggressive market entry pricing. As a huge company, they are able to weather short-term losses and have been known to use this financial power to drastically undercut the local taxi prices, forcing many drivers either out of their jobs or to join the platform.
Once that has been achieved, the cost of an Uber in those areas has been known to rise to previous levels charged by taxis, leaving neither passengers nor taxi drivers in a better position.
While the aggressive scenes that played out across TikTok and other social media of taxis attacking Uber vehicles are shocking, those actions were carried out by a small minority of taxi drivers, and it doesn’t detract from the fact that Uber entering a market often causes huge upset in the local driving economy.
Why Should Uber Pay A Fee?
At face value, it’s easy to view the fee being placed on Uber as slightly unfair. Still, it should be noted that any taxi driver operating at Cancun airport is paying an already high fee for the same privilege.
This has been one of the biggest sticking points for the taxis, enraged that they have to acquire licenses and pay high fees to pick up at the airport, while Uber previously required neither to carry out the same operation.
Fairer Prices Are Coming
While the taxi industry that operates out of the airport has genuine concerns that deserve to be addressed, it also doesn’t detract from the huge prices being charged for a taxi fare from the airport into Cancun.
Currently, travelers are being charged anywhere from $50 to $80 for the trip, a hard-to-defend price considering in normal traffic conditions, the journey to the furthest point of the Hotel Zone is just a 25-minute drive.
On the other end, price-undercutting is also not good for travelers. In the short term, it will bring huge savings on trips to a few, but in the long term, it would likely be a short-lived drop in pricing before returning to current levels, leaving only the ride-hailing companies as winners, and both taxi drivers and travelers out of luck.
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