The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory for Mexico’s resort-studded Caribbean coast Monday after medallion taxi drivers started harassing and attacking drivers from the ride-hailing app Uber and their customers.
Taxi drivers even blocked one of the main roads leading to the hotel district in the resort of Cancun Monday.
The blocked road forced some tourists to walk, or catch rides in police pickups to get their flights out.
The State Department advised travelers that “past disputes between these services and local taxi unions have occasionally turned violent, resulting in injuries to U.S. citizens in some instances.”
The Cancun police department shared photos of travelers getting into police truckbeds, and said, “given the blockades on the Kukulcan boulevard, our transit officers helped people get to the airport.”
The mayor of Cancun called on the taxi drivers, who were angered by the competition from Uber drivers, to show restraint.
“I am not going to allow a small group to damage the reputation of the resort and human safety,” said Mayor Ana Patricia Peralta, in a taped message.
Over the last two days, videos have flooded social media showing tourists being berated and, in one case, apparently manhandled by groups of several uniformed taxi drivers.
“It is illegal, illegal,” a taxi driver can be heard shouting at a family, apparently tourists.
Ride-hailing apps had been blocked in Cancun until earlier this month, when a court granted an injunction allowing Uber to operate.
Given the high cost of local medallion taxis in Cancun, many travelers prefer to use apps.
Some Cancun residents also posted videos or photos of taxis encircling suspected ride-hailing cars. One man said he was just giving a ride to some people when his car was pelted with stones, and dented by taxi drivers.
Actions to take according to U.S. Embassy and Mexico Consulates:
- Review our recommendations for your destination in our Travel Advisory for Mexico.
- In light of widely publicized security incidents in popular tourist destinations, please remember that all destinations have some level of risk. Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico.
- Review your personal security plans.
- Be aware of your surroundings and maintain a low profile.
- Monitor local media for updates.
- Call 911 in Mexico for immediate assistance.
Contact numbers to U.S. Embassy and Mexico Consulates:
- From Mexico: 55 8526 2561
- From the United States: 1-844-528-6611
- Department of State – Consular Affairs: +1-888-407-4747 or +1-201-501-4444