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Officials To Crack Down On Cancun Airport Taxi Scams With This New Measure

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Cancun International Airport is set to receive a major boost in traveler safety with the implementation of a license plate recognition system aimed at tackling the city’s growing fake taxi issue. 

Outside view of Cancun airport terminal with taxis

The measure was announced this week by Cancun officials amid reports of a drastic increase in unlicensed taxi drivers operating around the airport. 

Pirate taxis, as the local media refers to the phenomenon, operate informal taxi services, often charging travelers exorbitant fares for even short rides.

In addition to steep fares, fake taxis suffer from a number of safety-related issues, like speeding.

Taxi Driver on a Street in Mexico

And with arrival figures set to soar this summer in Cancun, authorities are implementing a host of decisions to shore up traffic safety. 

With that in mind, here’s how the new measure will improve safety for travelers in Cancun.

New Airport Surveillance System To Boost Safety For Cancun Visitors 

The vast majority of the Mexican Caribbean’s over 21 million annual visitors pass through Cancun International Airport each year.

The lion’s share of arriving tourists use taxis to get to their resort and back to the airport. 

police patrols on traffic in Cancun

The city’s skyrocketing arrival figures make Cancun airport a natural hub for thousands of taxi drivers. But in recent years, officials have grappled with a growing issue: unlicensed drivers. 

Recent reports reveal that dozens of such drivers operate at Cancun International Airport on a daily basis, offering services comparable to those of real taxis albeit at a much higher rate. 

And with many travelers struggling to distinguish real taxis from fake ones, countless visitors have complained about eyewatering prices and unsafe driving. 

Tulum Hotels And Police Add More Security Cameras To Increase Tourist Safety

But Cancun’s fake taxis could soon be a thing of the past with the announcement of new security gates near the airport that rely on advanced facial recognition technology to weed out illegitimate drivers. 

According to Jesús Salazar, the head of the Mexican Caribbean Hotel Council, the ambitious solution was formulated in conjunction with federal aviation authorities, who have been made aware of the worsening situation. 

cancun international airport with airplanes

“Cancun International Airport is responsible for overseeing the area’s road network, which is why the new surveillance system will be installed, equipped with facial and registration place recognition technology,” Mr Salazar added. 

The goal of the undertaking is simple: protect arriving and departing visitors from facing overcharging – and occasionally erratic – fake taxi drivers. 

outside view of the cancun airport with taxis

Although the new system will rely on highly precise technology, it only targets drivers & their vehicles, thus protecting the privacy of passengers. Only authorized law enforcement personnel will have access to the monitoring network. 

The most striking example of fake taxis took place in late April when a Canadian traveler was charged hundreds of dollars for a short ride from Cancun airport. The visitor filmed his encounter with the infamous driver, with the video going viral on social media just days later. 

Such cases are increasingly frequent in Cancun, tarnishing the city’s already poor reputation when it comes to taxis. 

small taxis waiting to pick up travelers in cancun

In addition to improving safety around Cancun International Airport, officials have taken a number of other measures to bolster traffic safety.

Law enforcement officers are handing out a growing number of fines to rule-breaking taxi drivers and even revoking licenses in some cases. 

Meanwhile, Uber is seeing its popularity skyrocket as an alternative to Cancun’s costly taxis, providing travelers more control of their rides and improving safety.

And this year, a new local taxi app called Ola Taxi is set to begin operating in the city this summer.

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