The ongoing tension between taxi and Uber drivers took a dramatic turn this week after police arrested several taxi drivers who had reportedly assaulted a female operator of the popular ride-sharing platform. A recent decision to allow Uber to operate legally in the Mexican Caribbean state of Quintana Roo has caused a commotion in places like Cancun, where the app’s legal status remains unclear pending further clarification.
Local police and law enforcement officers detained at least four taxi drivers in Cancun last Sunday after they received reports that they had assaulted an Uber driver. The arrest, which took place on Kukuclán Boulevard in the heart of Cancun’s hotel zone, is the latest dramatic escalation in a tense dispute between taxi companies and Uber, a popular ride-sharing platform.
According to police reports, units from the Municipal Secretary for Public Security and Transit arrested five suspects for allegedly assaulting a female Uber driver. The men are also facing charges of altering public order and endangering passers-by. Local media accounts suggest that the arrested taxi drivers belong to the largest taxi company in Cancun, Andrés Quintana Roo.
Over the weekend, reports surfaced that certain taxi drivers have begun exhibiting aggressive behavior towards Uber operators in an attempt to clear them from Cancun’s busy streets. Despite warnings from law enforcement, some taxi drivers seem committed to doing everything they can to scare off competition, even if it means resorting to illegal means.
Although Uber was granted permission to operate legally in Quintana Roo by a local judge on Wednesday, January 11, the application’s status – not to mention its safety – is far from certain at this point. Despite pressing concerns faced by users of the popular ride-sharing platform, local officials say that they will enforce the new laws allowing Uber to operate in the state.
In a press release issued this week, José Pablo Mathey Cruz, Secretary for Public Security, noted that law enforcement would continue to uphold public order and that “any wrongdoers will be arrested and face legal charges.” He also added that police officers would confiscate any vehicles involved in any illegal activities.
The five suspects have been identified as Juan Carlos, Yukio Alfredo, Arrsenio, Tinder, and Luz Elena, and have been handed over to a local judge under Mexican state law. Law enforcement officers also confiscated several vehicles belonging to the detained individuals, as well as a private vehicle owned by the victim.
Cancun Taxi Drivers Face Public Backlash
With price increases, rude customer service, and countless reports of malpractice, taxi drivers in Cancun are facing an uphill battle to regain public confidence in the once-reliable service. A new call to boycott local taxi operators is quickly gaining traction in Cancun, with hundreds of users on social media websites urging users to avoid taking a taxi on January 27.
The recent discussion surrounding the taxi versus Uber debate has left a growing number of locals and travelers to question the safety of taking a taxi in Cancun. The city currently lacks accessible public transportation options, often forcing travelers to rely on taxis to get around the resort hotspot.
Although Uber is technically allowed to operate in most of Quintana Roo, exceptions still apply, and different businesses are able to set their own restrictions. For example, Uber operators aren’t currently allowed to pick up or drop off passengers at Cancun airport. Travelers are currently advised not to rely on Uber, especially in the busy hotel zone, where visitors can get caught up in the ongoing tension between taxi companies and the ridesharing platform.
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