Cancun's boycott of taxis in Uber dispute gets rained out

Taxi boycott rained out

Residents of the Mexican resort of Cancun hoped people would boycott medallion taxis Friday, after a week of blockades and violent incidents by drivers protesting the ride-hailing app Uber.

Road blockades, stone throwing and cabbies physically preventing tourists from boarding Uber vehicles drew a U.S. travel advisory Monday, noting “past disputes between these services and local taxi unions have occasionally turned violent, resulting in injuries to U.S. citizens in some instances.”

With the hashtag “A Day Without Taxis,” several groups urged people driving their own cars to give others a lift Friday.

But an usual, tenacious rainfall left Cancun residents scrambling to get any transportation they could, and the taxi driver’s union began apologizing for this week’s events.

Some Cancun streets were partly flooded, slowing traffic, and long lines of passengers waited for the ubiquitous vans that most workers use to get to their jobs. A regular taxi from the airport to Cancun’s hotel zone often normally cost as much as $50, a price most locals can't afford.

Rumors flew throughout the day that Cancun-registered taxis would be giving unlimited rides for about $1.25, something the union quickly denied. There were also reports that Uber would be giving free rides. Uber did not immediately comment on that.

Ruben Carrillo, leader of the Cancun taxi drivers' union, apologized in a taped message late Thursday, though he aslo accused Uber drivers of “making fun” of regular taxi drivers.

"We do not approve of any protest that affects third parties, either residents or much less tourists, nor any act of violence, like blocking roads or chasing Uber vehicles, as happened in recent days," Carrillo said.

Ride-hailing apps had been blocked in Cancun until earlier this month, when a court granted an injunction allowing Uber to operate. The regular taxi drivers' union argues that because no state regulations have been approved for ride-hailing apps, they remain illegal.

The protests Monday forced some tourists to walk or catch rides in police pickups to get their flights out, or check in at hotels.

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