Reports of growing violence between warring taxi and Uber drivers in Cancun and other popular tourist areas in Mexico’s Quintana Roo region have prompted the U.S. State Department to issue a travel warning.
Multiple reports note that Medallion taxi drivers have harassed and attacked drivers and passengers in Uber vehicles to discourage competition in the lucrative ride-share service field.
On Monday, taxi drivers blocked one of the main roads leading to the hotel district in Cancun, forcing some tourists to walk or secure rides in police pickups to make their flights home.
The Cancun police department posted photos of tourists being taken to the airport in the back of police trucks, noting, “given the blockades on the Kukulcan boulevard, our transit officers helped people get to the airport.”
With no clear plan to resolve the growing conflict, the U.S. State Department issued an advisory noting the “past disputes between these services and local taxi unions have occasionally turned violent, resulting in injuries to U.S. citizens in some instances.”
Protests have erupted across multiple popular tourist cities in recent days. One protester’s sign read: “We are fighting for the rights of the taxi drivers.” Social media sites have noted how many of the confrontations between Uber and Taxi drivers quickly turn violent.
Cancun’s Mayor Ana Patricia Peralta issued a statement, calling on taxi drivers to show restraint:
“I am not going to allow a small group to damage the reputation of the resort and human safety.”
Reportedly, members of the region’s Taxi Union, representing about 12,000 members in Cancun alone, were angered by a Jan. 11 court ruling that permitted Uber drivers to operate without a public transport license required of taxis.
This is the latest in a series of U.S. State Department advisories for travel in various regions in Mexico. Due to spiking crime and violence, Level 4 (“Do Not Travel”) advisories are in place for the states of Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacán, and Guerrero.