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Taking an Uber to Mexico Is Almost Impossible

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Uber customers trying to cross into Baja California might be disappointed by the new "Passport" program

A month ago, Uber announced that passengers could use the ride-sharing service to travel across the California border into Mexico. This new program was meant to ease the stress of international travel and, according to the company, to "foster cross-border business opportunities by facilitating accessible and reliable transportation." Celebrating the launch of the service, San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer ordered himself a leisurely ride down to Tijuana. So, a month later, how's the new program working out? Not very well, says the LA Times.

First, there's the glaring problem that Uber has acknowledged since launching the border-crossing service: drivers can take passengers into Mexico, but not back to the United States. In order to re-enter the country, travelers must ride to the border and then proceed on foot. Once across, they can order a second ride to their next destination. It's a bit complicated, but crossing to and from Baja California can be an ordeal with or without a car. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be the only issue with the program.

Times columnist Robin Abcarian recently tried to cross into Mexico using Uber, but quickly learned that it isn't an easy process. Riders must use the special "Passport" service to request a ride across the border. Unfortunately, this option isn't available by default. Currently, only San Diego residents who frequently travel to areas around the border can make use of the program without requesting access directly from Uber. After that, the "Passport" option takes more than 24 hours to appear in the app, and will only appear if users are south of the San Diego County line.

Even more problematic, Abcarian says that even when she asked others to try finding a ride using the "Passport" program, no drivers were available (only certain drivers have been approved to make the trip). Then there's the price. According to Uber, rides start at around $90. That's between $75 and $80 more than the cost of a bus. For now, it seems like traveling to Mexico via rideshare is even more complicated than getting picked up at LAX.