In another display of vigilantism, Taxi drivers in Puerto Vallarta blocked four tourist buses at the Krystal Hotel for 40-minutes Monday morning before 9 AM, accusing the buses of not having proper permits to pick up or drop off 160 students staying at the hotel on a volunteer relief mission.
The tour providers for the services arranged for the students was PV Tours, outsourced by the Olympus Travel Agency to offer tour services to the student.
In agreements between tour companies and taxi unions, tour companies must have pre-contracted services before entering hotel properties, the agreement that taxi drivers claimed the tour company was violating this morning. In the end, the tour company provided sufficient evidence to prove they were operating within the transportation agreement and they were allowed to proceed with their operations.
The hijacking of the tour buses by the taxi union never involved local authorities.
Vallarta Daily News caught up with some tourists along the Malecón this morning and asked what their experience with taxi drivers have been like in Puerto Vallarta.
“I have been visiting Puerto Vallarta every fall for six years. On my first visit I saw three taxi drivers pull another driver out of his car and beat him up on Olas Altas because apparently he picked up a passenger out of his zone,” said Joseph Delaney. “I decided then that taking a taxi in Puerto Vallarta probably wasn’t very safe,” he added.
Andrea Vernon said, “I get the impression that they are organized crime. They charge whatever they want and you will get your kneecaps broke if you cross them. It looks like even the government is scared of them.”
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The conflict between taxi unions and other transportation service providers boil over into the public streets often. Law enforcement and government agencies largely ignore the situations and request that service providers work out their squabbles among themselves.
In the end, taxi drivers and tour services suffer as tourists begin to feel less comfortable using the transportation services in Puerto Vallarta. The innocent victims are the business owners that depend on sales generated by tourists who can move freely throughout the city’s shopping zones while having confidence in the local transportation.
“The problem is like a cancer right now, if the government doctors and authorities don’t end the infection soon, the patient will die. Meaning tourism,” local tourist Andy Maier tells Vallarta Daily.