Skip to Content

Uber Is Operating Legally In Cancun, Says Judge 

Share The Article

Last Updated

After a four-year wait to be granted permission to operate in the city, Uber is operating legally in Cancun, according to a judge.  The battle that has taken place over the last few years came about when taxi drivers voiced their objections to Uber being allowed to operate in the city.  They argued that Uber should have to operate under the same rules and regulations of the state mobility law that taxi drivers must adhere to. 

To help break down what this new ruling entails, this article will define the laws in question, lay out a timeline of the Uber battle, discuss recent tensions, and explain what the ruling means for travelers.

Woman stepping out of a vehicle, uber driver waiting for her to exit vehicle completely

The Mobility Law And Uber 

The mobility law of Quintana Roo states that public transport companies are required to obtain a state concession in order to operate.  Uber has argued, though, that it is not a form of public transport but rather a private company and, therefore, should be able to operate with just a business permit.  We’ll provide a rough timeline of Uber’s victorious battle to help you better understand the tension between Uber and taxi drivers that has kept Uber from being able to fully and safely operate in Cancun over the past few years. 

Man Ordering an Uber Through His Iphone

Uber Battle Timeline 

  • 2016 – Uber enters the transportation market in Cancun in September of 2016.   
  • 2016 – 2017 – Uber serves over 300,000 people, more than 60 percent of which are tourists, and approximately 5,000 Mexican citizens register as Uber drivers. 
  • 2017 – After a year of complications with taxi drivers and Mexican officials, Uber suspends its operations in December 2017. 
  • 2019 – Uber begins operating in Cancun again in June of 2019 after filing an Amparo seeking protection, and a federal judge ruled that Uber Mexico is a private company and does not require the same regulations as taxi companies. 
  • 2021 – Supreme Court of Justice rules that Uber’s business model is not the same as that of other types of transportation companies.  
  • 2023 – On January 11, 2023, a judge approved Uber’s Amparo allowing the company to legally operate in Quintana Roo, including Cancun. 

Top 5 Travel Insurance Plans For 2023 Starting At $10 Per Week

Easily Earn Points For Free Travel

Uber Vehicle Driving Down the Street at Night

What The New Ruling Means For Uber 

While Uber is now technically able to operate legally in Cancun, the battle for Uber is likely far from over.  For one, the hotels, the airport taxi drivers union, and airport authorities will be able to decide if Uber can operate in their zones.  Additionally, members of various taxi unions have made their dissatisfaction with the ruling very clear, and some plan to fight it. 

Woman in a Vehicle Driving Down a City Street

The Tension Between Uber And Taxi Drivers 

The tension has become so strong between Uber and taxi drivers that Uber drivers have actually turned away customers for fear of reprisal. The battle has even led to violence on more than one occasion.  The most recent case was only a day before the ruling when an Uber that picked tourists up on the road allegedly had stones thrown at it by taxi drivers.  

Cancun Taxi on a street of the city.

What Uber Has To Say About The Ruling 

Uber, of course, welcomes the decision after years of battling to be recognized as legal and not having to be regulated as public transport.  A statement put out by the company reads, “Uber has been available in the state since 2016; and today it is legally confirmed what the company has maintained since its inception: that it does not require a public transport concession to operate in Quintana Roo. Year after year, we have sought to contribute to the Quintana Roo community, and decisions like this motivate us to redouble those efforts.”  

Taxis lined up on the street waiting to pick up passengers.

What The Ruling Means For Citizens And Tourists 

A taxi from Cancun International Airport to the Hotel Zone can cost as much as $60 one way. And although it remains to be seen if Uber will be able to operate at the airport, it could be a welcome change for tourists. For citizens working in the Hotel Zone, it can also mean big savings on transportation. 

Taxi meter showing the price of a trip.

The Future Of Cancun Transportation 

While Uber is able to operate legally right now, the company’s future is still unclear because it is very likely that taxi drivers will fight the ruling. Until the battle between Uber and taxi drivers winds down, it is important to be careful when choosing transportation.  Booking ahead of time through the airport or a private company may be the best and safest option. 

Plan Your Next Cancun Vacation:

Traveler Alert: Don’t Forget Travel Insurance For Your Next Trip!

Choose From Thousands of Cancun and Riviera Maya Hotels, Resorts and Hostels with Free Cancellation On Most Properties

↓ Join the community ↓

The Cancun Sun Community FB group has all the latest travel news, conversations and tourism Q&A’s for the Mexican Caribbean


Subscribe to our Latest Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to The Cancun Sun’s latest breaking news affecting travelers, straight to your inbox.