State Dept. issues Cancun travel warning after taxi drivers attack Uber drivers, passengers

The U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning in tourist haven towns along Mexico’s Caribbean coast amid clashes between disgruntled taxi drivers and Uber ride-share customers and drivers.

The warning comes after medallion taxi drivers in Mexico’s Quintana Roo state, home to Cancun and other popular tourist areas on the Yucatán Peninsula, have been harassing and attacking drivers and passengers in Uber vehicles due to frustrations over the competition that the ride-share service provides.

Taxi drivers even blocked one of the main roads leading to the hotel district in the resort of Cancun on Monday. That forced some tourists to walk or catch rides in police pickups to the airport.

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."

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Cancun taxi drivers
Taxi drivers walk past a sign that reads, "We are fighting for the rights of the taxi drivers," during a protest against the regulation of taxi-hailing apps such as Uber in Cancun, Mexico, on Jan. 11, 2023.

Social media sites have been full over the last two days of videos showing tourists being berated — and in one case, apparently manhandled — by groups of several uniformed taxi drivers.

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The Cancun police department shared photos of travelers getting into the bed of police trucks and said that "given the blockades on the Kukulcan boulevard, our transit officers helped people get to the airport."

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Cancun taxi driver protest
Taxi drivers hold a protest against the regulation of taxi-hailing apps such as Uber in Cancun, Mexico, on Jan. 11, 2023.

Cancun’s mayor has called on the taxi drivers to show restraint.

"I am not going to allow a small group to damage the reputation of the resort and human safety," Mayor Ana Patricia Peralta said in a taped message.

The Taxi Union, representing about 12,000 members in Cancun, were incensed by a Jan. 11 court ruling that allows Uber to operate without a public transport license that is required of taxis, Mexico News Daily reported.

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Wide shot of summer day in cancun
Cancun beach

An Uber spokesperson told Fox News Digital that this travel warning is specific to Cancun and that the State Department has repeatedly referred to Uber as a safe alternative in the country.

"Uber is deeply committed to safety around the world, and we have teams in the U.S. and Mexico dedicated to working with police and providing 24/7 support through the Uber app for riders and drivers," the spokesperson said.

The security warning comes after the State Department has issued travel advisories in dozens of Mexican states due to crime concerns, including "Do Not Travel" advisories to the states of Zacatecas, Guerrero, Colima and others.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.