Uber has grown massively in popularity in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean after the ride-sharing app was officially given the green light to operate in the sunny region earlier this year.
The popular app – as well as many of its users – have faced an uphill battle ever since, having to contend with Cancun’s increasingly demanding and sometimes aggressive taxi drivers.
Fortunately, a new government decision is expected to come into effect soon, providing travelers with a major safety boost.
With that in mind, here’s the latest on Cancun’s Uber woes and what the latest measure means for travelers.
Uber To Be Connected To Cancun’s C5 Security Network
Uber has faced significant legal and practical obstacles in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean over the past several years.
Earlier this year, in March, a federal judge granted permission for the U.S.-based app to begin operating on a limited basis in Cancun.
Travelers and locals largely welcomed the new measure, which enabled more reliable, safe, and affordable options for transportation across the busy resort hotspot. But taxi drivers were reluctant to give up their share of the market, with some employees resorting to aggressive measures to deter Uber drivers and in some cases, users.
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The growing number of altercations between Uber and taxi drivers has been a major source of concern for local officials, who have implemented several measures to calm tensions. This week, authorities announced yet another major step forward in protecting Uber passengers from potential aggressions.
Uber users will soon have what law enforcement experts describe as a ‘panic button’ on the official ride-sharing application. The measure is designed to give users a discreet and efficient way to reach authorities in high-risk situations.
Officials have said that extensive tests have been carried out over the past several weeks to ensure the proper functioning of the new feature. According to Cristian Torres, a spokesperson for the local government, Uber has been working with local authorities to help design and implement the measure.
In a statement, the high-ranking official said, “This will help the population a lot, because the C5 (surveillance system) will be directly altered about users that require assistance,” Ms Torres said.
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The security alert system will be connected to Quintana Roo’s high-tech C5 surveillance system, which provides law enforcement with real-time data on crime in the tourist hotspot.
Law enforcement agencies have stepped up measures to protect travelers in recent months. With increasingly aggressive taxi drivers making the headlines, officials want to protect Cancun’s excellent reputation as a safe and welcoming destination, which just wrapped up the busiest summer season on record.
Despite the rising number of taxi-related incidents, Uber is gaining a wide degree of acceptance in and around Cancun as both travelers and residents grow increasingly frustrated with local taxi organizations.
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Formal tests of the new security feature are set to conclude in several days, and if everything goes according to plan, Uber users will be able to access the new safety system in just several weeks.
Until then, travelers are being warned to continue to take precautions when using Uber in Cancun. While generally safe, travelers should avoid the application in the vicinity of hotels, where taxi drivers are more likely to congregate. They should also be careful when ordering a ride through the app during the night.
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Meanwhile, travelers can benefit from complimentary transfers to and from Cancun International Airport, which many resorts offer as part of their all-inclusive services.
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