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Taxi hostages and running the gauntlet!

Discussion in 'Cozumel' started by DSR-3, Jun 3, 2021.

  1. DSR-3

    DSR-3 Regular of the Pub

    So after 10 days of enjoying our first trip to Cozumel in 2 years, we were all set for the return home.
    Timed our airport arrival well, sat for a few, boarded the plane and settled in. Then, the first pilot announcement comes- there was an alarm that wouldn't stop (assume that is was "false"?). Drinks were served up front, a few minutes pass, and they got it figured out- great! We taxi for takeoff, but the alarm's back and more, so back to the gate. Somebody called somebody who knows how to fix airplanes, but even he couldn't fix it. 7+ hours later, there we were in the Hotel Cozumel for the night, courtesey of UA.

    The next morning, the whole plane-full of passengers, and crew, and luggage are amassed in the lobby for the return via shuttles. Not so fast... Seems the taxi union (and the police?) take the rules of transfers pretty seriously, and 2 red taxis with Vigilantia or something like that on the doors block the entrance and exit to the hotel lot! The first of the suttles gets past, but the taxi driver pounds the side as it passes. The blockade is now fully established.

    The police are called and arrive, but simply make notes (tickets?), and do nothing to help. So as we all sit in the hot, humid lobby for most of an hour, the staff form a plan. Seems there is a gated back entrance/exit or 2, so the shuttle coordinator has small groups quietly make their way to the service exit where 3 or so shuttles full escape out the back. I asked if we should duck down... The "blockers" were looking across the lot, probably noticing the shrinking crowd. A few passengers gave in and took taxis (allowed in and out). We were in the last 2 shuttles in back, and as we're about to go for the gate- a red taxi appears and blocks it. We retreat, and the guard runs back to the shuttles. 5 minutes of strategizing, and the plan is commplete. She heads back to the blocked gate, putting a fake on the driver while our 2 shuttles haul-ass for he gate on the other end of the property. Hotel staff and guards hurridly wave us out while the cab driver tries to get there to cover. Nope, we're out! Big applause, but clearly we're not done yet.
    Both shuttles take different and indirect routes. Ours is hauling down 5th (I think) and sure engough a couple taxis are clearly looking to get in the way, nosing out of the cross streets, but the driver did not yield! We made it with no more issues.

    I found it quite funny, if not annoying, and I was never in fear of anything but being late. I tried to describe the shuttle vs. taxi thing to others on the van as best as I can, but they had kids and were not amused. If it had been my young family and some guy pounding on the shuttle scaring them, I might have had a hard time not getting involved, but I know that's not likely a good way to make the flight.
    As we sit waiting for our next fligh home (just delayed!), I'm not sure what to make of it. I kind of want to blame United or whoever started the process, knowing that there is a real potential for this to happen. On the other hand, I can't condone how the taxi's or police handled it, but the guys in charge at the hotel were pretty inventive with th whole "sneak out the back" solution. For Cozumel, as a whole- not how you treat guests, and I have no doubt that those shuttle drivers are not happy about being caught in the middle. I heard people saying "we'll never return to Cozumel" which is not a great outcome for anyone. We'll be back, but I will not be the generous tipper of taxis I usually am, and will negotiate with them harder too (for fun?).

    The diving was great!
  2. cicopo

    cicopo Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    WOW. That had to be a new experience.
    Snoweman likes this.
  3. FishWatcher747

    FishWatcher747 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Lake Placid, NY
    Did the delay in the flight put anyone outside the 3 day window for covid test and make their prior test invalid?
    kelemvor, brownie and markmud like this.
  4. ggunn

    ggunn ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Austin, TX, USA
    Take a taxi to the airport and the shuttles from the airport (or walk off the airport property). Those are the rules, and when in Rome...
    inquisit and Lorenzoid like this.
  5. ReefHound

    ReefHound Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Houston, TX
    I think there is a difference between normal situations and an extreme one-off situation of the entire planeload needing transport at the same time.

    Just when it seemed like people were feeling empathy for taxi drivers they go and pull a stunt like this. What did they stand to gain? A few dozen drivers getting a couple of fares? At the expense of their reputation as an industry. I'm with the OP - the days of being generous with fares and tips are over with me.
  6. ggunn

    ggunn ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Austin, TX, USA
    I never tip taxi drivers except for the one we have a relationship with who takes us all over the island. As to the one-off situation, clearly the taxi union didn't see it that way, and it's their country and their rules. IMO, whoever arranged for the shuttles should have known better than to challenge them.
    Kimela likes this.
  7. flyboy08

    flyboy08 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: NYC
    If your a frequent visitor to Coz, get a taxi number or wechat and use them exclusively when able...kinda like your own personal driver...we have an awesome one.
    BoundForElsewhere likes this.
  8. ggunn

    ggunn ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Austin, TX, USA
    So do we - Jose in cab #350. He's great! BTW, did you know that the traditional nickname for Jose is Bob? I didn't. His handle with the other drivers is Squarepants.
    Brodydog likes this.
  9. Jayfarmlaw

    Jayfarmlaw Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tuttle, Ok
    Senor Pantalones Cuadrado?? That's funny right there, I don't care who you are. I wonder where the collectivos fall into the Taxi vs Shuttle's relationship.

    Still laughing,
    rjack321 likes this.
  10. dlofting

    dlofting Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
    My attitude exactly in just about every situation. It's their country.....saves a lot of wasted energy being mad.

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