Likely Uber will be the talk of the town this week, much like last week.
The governor of the state of Jalisco came to Vallarta last week and made a grand announcement with the head of the taxi union by his side. He was revoking the permits needed for Uber to operate in the state. By some estimates there are over 2000 Uber drivers in Jalisco.
Of course people are upset and confused by this but as things do, it settled down with vague assurances it would never happen. Well, it looks like he kept his word and the crack down on Uber drivers has begun. I received an email just now saying:
FYI don’t let your houseguests schedule an Uber to the airport. Our friends today were in an Uber and stopped by machine gun armed police. Removed from the car and told it was illegal. They were then put into a conveniently waiting yellow cab.
This is a distressing situation for the people of Vallarta and Banderas Bay and our visitors. Uber provides a service that goes beyond the usual taxi. Uber offers convenience, security, accountability and standardized reliable service.
Without Uber, people with mobility issues will have a more difficult time getting a car to come to their specific location. It means tourists will continue to get preferential treatment over locals. It means women will be less secure. It means fares will again be at the whim of the drivers. It means accountability will be lost along with any personal affects you might have left behind in the taxi.
As this situation plays out and you find yourself in a taxi my suggestions to you are:
- To take a photo of the taxi number and driver so you have record should you lose anything or have any issues. Consider also texting a friend this information.
- Negotiate the fare prior to getting in a taxi. Fares start at 50 pesos and increase exponentially depending on where you’re going. Most fares within Vallarta should be 50 pesos and nearly all are under 120 pesos.
- Before you exit the taxi, ensure you are in a safe, well-lit area and you have all your belongings.
Tipping is not required but is appreciated. If the taxi driver helps you with your bags, waits patiently for you to get organized etc, tip.
Another option, though not late into the evening, is to take the bus. Vallarta has 350(ish) new buses on the road offering air conditioning and comfortable seating (this is relative to the old buses). The fare starts at 10 pesos. By reading the destinations on the front of the bus you can easily travel around then entire bay easily using the public transit system.