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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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