The US State Department issued a travel advisory for Mexico’s choice-filled Caribbean coast on Monday after medallion taxi drivers began harassing and assaulting drivers from the ride-hailing app Uber and their customers.
Taxi drivers even blocked one of the main roads leading to the hotel area in the resort of Cancun on Monday.
The blocked road forced some tourists to walk, or catch rides in police pickups to reach their flights.
The State Department informed travelers that “past disputes between these services and local taxi unions have occasionally turned violent, resulting in injuries to US citizens in some cases.”
Cancun police shared photos of travelers getting into the beds of police trucks, and said, “given the barriers on Kukulcan boulevard, our transportation officers helped people get to the airport.”
The mayor of Cancun asked the taxi drivers, who were angry because of the competition from Uber drivers, to show restraint.
“I am not going to allow a small group to damage the resort’s reputation and human safety,” said Mayor Ana Patricia Peralta, in a taped message.
Over the past two days, social media has been flooded with videos showing tourists being harassed and, in one case, manhandled by groups of several uniformed taxi drivers.
“It’s illegal, illegal,” a taxi driver can be heard shouting at a family, apparently tourists.
Ride-hailing apps were blocked in Cancun until earlier this month, when a court granted an injunction allowing Uber to operate.
Due to the high cost of local medallion taxis in Cancun, many travelers prefer to use apps.
Some Cancun residents posted videos or photos of taxis surrounding suspicious ride-hailing cars. One man said he was just giving a ride to some people when his car was pelted with stones, and taxi drivers ransacked him.
Actions to be taken according to the US Embassy and Mexican Consulates:
- Review our recommendations for your destination in our Mexico Travel Advisory.
- Given the widely publicized security incidents in popular tourist destinations, please remember that all destinations carry some level of risk. Violent crime – such as murder, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico.
- Review your personal security plans.
- Be aware of your surroundings and keep a low profile.
- Monitor local media for updates.
- Call 911 in Mexico for immediate assistance.
Contact numbers for the US Embassy and Mexican 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