Mexico's Caribbean resort of Cancun welcomes 30 million tourists a year

Cancún (Mexico) (AFP) - Uber drivers in Mexico’s Caribbean resort of Cancun hope that a legal ruling in their favor will end alleged long-running threats and intimidation by taxi operators.

“We’ve endured three years of attacks, threats and abuses of authority,” Agueda Esperilla, a spokeswoman for the Uber drivers, told AFP.

Last week a court ruled that Uber drivers could work legally in Cancun, which welcomes 30 million tourists a year – around half of all the foreigners who visit Mexico.

The decision allows the ride-hailing app to operate without a concession required by transport companies in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo.

Taxi driver unions, which have 12,000 members in Cancun, have complained of “unfair competition.”

Uber successfully argued that it does not offer a public transport service, but instead facilitates agreements between private parties.

The ruling also authorizes Uber to operate in the popular resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

Uber’s arrival in Cancun in 2016 triggered a dispute with 14 unions that for decades monopolized the taxi service in Quintana Roo.

Several Uber drivers have accused taxi drivers of intercepting them and forcing passengers to get out of the vehicles.

Some even allege they were beaten, received death threats or had stones thrown at their cars.

Esperilla said that she was herself the victim of an attack in 2020 while transporting tourists to the airport.

“Four taxi drivers tried to open my car and began to kick it. One of them smashed the windshield with a huge stone. The police never did anything to go after the attackers,” she said.

“We call on the authorities to put a stop to the abuses of the unions once and for all,” Esperilla said.