The number of official complaints lodged against Cancun taxi drivers has skyrocketed in past months, with over 100 filed in October alone. Authorities have been more proactive than ever before in an attempt to enforce strict regulations, which unfortunately aren’t always followed by taxi drivers in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean.
Although taking a taxi is one of the easiest and fastest ways to get around in Cancun, it’s not without its faults. Local media have shed light on a number of unfair practices and scams that taxi drivers regularly employ to gain a few dollars at the expense of locals and visitors. Now, with public awareness increasing, the number of official complaints has practically doubled in the past month, rising from 50 to over 100.
Over the summer, multiple reports emerged that taxi drivers regularly overcharge customers – whether they be locals or visitors. Meanwhile, authorities responded to the alarming situation by fining more taxi drivers, recalling taxi licenses, and sending taxi drivers off to mandatory training courses. Even though taxi drivers continue to scam customers, the public has been made aware of what legal options they have to reclaim their money.
In October, the situation seems to have improved somewhat, and more than 100 complaints were filed against drivers. The number of complaints has more than doubled compared to August and September, when around 40 to 60 complaints were recorded.
According to Nancy Valdez Vázquez, the sub-secretary for labor for the local taxi trade union, some of the most common complaints are related to overcharging and bad customer service. Depending on the severity of the case, taxi drivers can be fined, or their licenses can be temporarily frozen for up to 15 days.
In some instances, taxi operators are mandated to attend a training course called ‘Zero Tolerance,’ which deals with the basics of customer service and charging customers a fair rate. According to the local taxi union, authorities and taxi companies want to restore the public’s faith in taxi drivers, especially as the city heads into the record-breaking winter travel season.
Last month, it was reported that taxis were involved in up to 80% of all public transport accidents in Cancun, with several hundred injuries and one death reported this year alone. According to authorities, most accidents occur when drivers speed or disregard traffic signs, which can be especially troublesome in Cancun’s tightly-packed resort district and busy highways.
Although taking a taxi is often one of the first things tourists do after arriving in Cancun, unsuspecting visitors are, unfortunately, good targets for taxi drivers. That being said, there are several steps travelers can take to avoid being overcharged or outright scammed when taking a taxi in Cancun.
First, travelers can pre-book a private taxi through their hotel or resort or opt to use a free shuttle service. If you find yourself needing to use a taxi, always make sure the taximeter is turned on and visible. You can also ask to see the driver’s taxi license, which has a QR code, to ensure the legal status of the operator.
Travelers are encouraged to report any cases of misconduct or overcharging to the following hotlines, which operate around the clock: 998-689-1166 or 998-888-6990. Tourists can also take note of the taxi’s license plate, the time of getting on the ride, as well as the driver’s name.
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