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Tensions Rise Between Punta Cana Taxis And Ubers, Do Tourists Need To Worry?

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Uber has become extremely widespread in Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic, even outperforming taxis in strategic high-density routes around airports and resort areas.

Aerial view of a popular area in punta cana

The ride-sharing platform’s soaring popularity is fueling tensions between taxi drivers and Uber operators, prompting officials to call for restraint on both sides.

With rising tensions being felt across the country, but especially in Punta Cana, just how worried should travelers be?

uber app in a car in punta cana

Punta Cana Sees Uptick In Airport Altercations Over Uber

Since being granted the green light to operate in Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic in 2015, Uber has grown its market share considerably. Nowadays, the popular ride-sharing app is among the main modes of transport for thousands of residents and travelers daily.

But that growing popularity is having a detrimental effect on Punta Cana’s taxi industry, which relies on a steady flow of income from affluent North American tourists. With those travelers increasingly switching to Uber, some taxi drivers have taken matters into their own hands, even going so far as to threaten or outright attack Uber drivers.

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@itskathyslife We did our research first, decided to risk it and try Uber when we got there. It ended up being a good choice for us. We could've gotten a shuttle service for $60 round trip but this was the more affordable option. We know many taxis hustle at the airports of any tourist destination so we wanted to avoid that. If you want a more affordable option, try this! #puntacana #puntacanaairport #transportationservice #uberinpuntacana #avoidscams #traveltips #traveltipsdr ♬ Renaissance (Main Title Theme) [from "The White Lotus: Season 2"] – Cristobal Tapia De Veer

In one particularly worrisome incident on August 11 this year, a taxi driver reportedly blocked a tourist from getting on board an Uber close to a Punta Cana resort. 

However, such incidents remain highly unusual, with nearly all Uber rides in the coastal destination occurring without problems. But even as authorities continue to implement measures to improve safety for visitors, concern continues to grow over the deteriorating taxi situation. 

Outside of punta cana airport

That’s all the more so as Uber reveals plans to heavily expand its services to new destinations across the Dominican Republic and compete directly with local taxi industries. 

Meanwhile, Punta Cana’s taxi industry representatives have taken to social media to denounce acts of aggression stemming from some of their drivers. According to Tomasito Reyes, the spokesperson for Punta Cana Taxis, incidents involving violence remain exceptional. 

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He added that the company would conduct a serious inquiry into recent incidents and take necessary disciplinary measures should further complications arise. 

How Safe Is Uber In Punta Cana?

Uber continues to expand deeper into new destinations in the Dominican Republic, including the capital Santo Domingo. The San Francisco-based company already has a strong presence in Punta Cana, where it is a popular option for both locals and increasingly, travelers, especially those hailing from the United States.

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The ride-sharing app operates in a number of key areas, including around Punta Cana International Airport as well as resort districts like Bávaro. With that being the case, travelers should feel comfortable and safe using the application, although a little caution goes a long way.

Avoid getting an Uber in places where taxi drivers are likely to congregate, such as right in front of a resort or by the arrivals hall in Punta Cana’s airport. It’s also a good idea to avoid Uber in areas with fewer police officers, which act as a deterrent against potentially aggressive taxi drivers.

Police in the dominican republic

Travelers can also explore private transfers or complimentary shuttle services to and from Punta Cana International Airport to many of the city’s large resorts. Rides from the aerial hub to popular resort areas like Bávaro or Cap Cana typically cost anywhere from $20 to $45, although fares are higher for more remote districts like Macao

Travelers can also contact the Politur, the Dominican Republic’s tourism police, in case they find themselves in a predicament involving local taxi drivers.

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