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Uber ride in Bogotá, photo by Alexander Torrenegra - The Ultimate Guide to Using Uber in Medellín and Colombia
Uber is a viable alternative to taxis in Medellín and other cities in Colombia. Uber returned to Colombia on February 20, 2020 after a three-week absence.

Uber in Colombia: Uber Returns to Medellin and Colombia

Uber is a viable alternative to using taxis in Medellín and several other cities in Colombia. We provide this guide to using Uber in Medellín, Bogotá and other cities in Colombia. Uber exited Colombia on February 1, 2020 but after three weeks returned on February 20, 2020.

Getting around in Medellín is fairly easy compared to other Latin American cities. You have the famous Medellín metro system with its rail, tram-line and cable car lines as well as extensive bus routes in the city.

Also, in Bogotá, you have the Transmilenio elongated bus system as well as many other normal bus routes. Other cities in Colombia also have public transport systems including some other cities like Pereira and Cali with elongated bus systems and all have extensive bus routes.

But if you don’t fancy public transport very much and don’t want to own a car, you’re going to take a taxi, right? However, Uber is a viable option to taxis.

Note the above photo is an Uber ride in Bogotá, Colombia with the driver running the app on his dashboard-mounted smartphone, photo by Alexander Torrenegra.

Editors note: Colombia ordered Uber to cease its ride-hailing operations in Colombia in late 2019, effective immediately, after a judge ruled the company violated competition rules. And Uber on January 10, 2020, decided to exit the Colombia market with its last day on January 31, 2020. So, starting on February 1, 2020, Uber was no longer be an option in Colombia.

But Uber returned to Colombia on February 20, 2020.  However, Beat and DiDi are alternative ride-sharing apps to Uber also operating in Colombia that did not shut down.

Uber Returns to Colombia With a New Rental Model

On February 20, 2020, starting at 8:00 am, Uber returned to Colombia with a new model.  Uber notified through a statement that its return was linked to a reinvention of the company.

Users and drivers reported on social networks like Facebook the enablement of Uber with services called: UberYA and Comfort. While this is a surprise measure, it could be a temporary solution for Uber’s operation in Colombia while legislative proposals in Colombia move forward.

Until January 31, 2020, Uber functioned as an app that connected drivers with users, a technological intermediation. Now, with the return on February 20, the Uber app works subtly different as a solution for users to contract with third parties who provide their vehicle for rent with a driver.

The new linking model allows Uber to be a provider of a private leasing service between the end user and the driver of the vehicle. Uber said in a statement:

The model will allow to lease a vehicle with a driver, under an agreement between the parties at the time of the call. The application will be the contact point that connects the two parties to enter into a contract between them.

According to El Tiempo, the legal strategy was advanced directly from the Uber headquarters. So in Colombia, Uber is using a loophole, where users directly hire drivers using the app.

The Uber app enabled several options on February 20, which include the rental of vehicles for hours if a user wants a fee based on an amount of time. In addition, it activated: a category of private transport, an option of economic transport and a premium service:

  • PorHoras – you can rent a vehicle with a driver and pay for the time you use it.
  • UberYA – on demand, you can rent a vehicle with a driver to move around the city in an agile and reliable way.
  • Economy – allows you to rent vehicles with a driver and less recent vehicle models may be available for rent at a lower price. Available only in some cities of Colombia.
  • Comfort – the premium alternative that allows you to rent more modern vehicles with driver, for a more comfortable experience.
  • UberXL – allows you to rent larger vehicles with drivers for groups or for more passengers with suitcases using vehicles with more space than normal cars.

Caution, make sure to read the new Uber user contract with the driver carefully. Press reports (in Spanish) indicate that the user is now responsible for paying fines and even tow trucks for the Uber driver.

A normal day in El Poblado in Medellín with many taxis

A normal day in El Poblado in Medellín with many taxis

Taxis in Medellín and Other Cities in Colombia

Taxis are abundant in Medellín. At times it seems that up to 40 or 50 percent of the cars on the road in Medellín are yellow taxis. And this website has a Medellín taxi guide with more details about using taxis in Medellín.

Taxis are also common in other cities in Colombia. Also, in many cities in Colombia the taxis are metered. But in some cities like Barranquilla, Cartagena and Santa Marta the taxis aren’t even metered.

In addition, the overall quality of taxis in Medellín and other cities in Colombia is… let’s say… it takes a little getting used to. Or in my case I’ve not yet gotten used to it.

Here are three reasons why the experience in a yellow taxi in Colombia may not be the best:

A Kia Picanto taxi in Bogotá, photo by Felipe Restrepo Acosta

A Kia Picanto taxi in Bogotá, photo by Felipe Restrepo Acosta

Taxi Issue #1: Small Vehicles

Most of the taxis in Colombia are very small vehicles. The three most common vehicle models used for taxis in Colombia are the Hyundai Atos, Chevrolet Matiz and Kia Picanto. The small cars are used due to their fuel economy.

However, these small cars used for taxis I personally don’t feel are very safe.

Taxi Issue #2: Vehicle Defects?

As a former auto mechanic, I have developed something that’s called “behind-o-meter”.

So, when I sit in a taxi in Colombia I’m frequently able to tell what may be broken, just from the vibrations while sitting in the seat. While some taxis are new, many others are older taxis that may have some defects.

And unfortunately, it’s not rare that my behind-o-meter makes me want to run out of the taxi in Colombia because I get overwhelmed with possible defects in the car.

Taxi Issue #3: Taxi Drivers

Defects in a car is one thing, but my experience shows that a lot of taxi drivers in Medellín and other cities in Colombia drive kind of crazy. This is what bothers me the most while taking a yellow taxi.

In my experience, the quality of driving is horrible from many of taxi drivers in Medellín and other cities in Colombia. Let me just make sure, there are a lot of responsible taxi drivers in Medellín and other cities in Colombia. For example, I was in a taxi yesterday and the taxi driver offered a great service.

But my experience time and time again is that many taxi drivers in Medellín and other cities in Colombia seem to drive like “crazy”.

This includes fast lane changing, trying to fit in small spaces while driving 50 mph (80 km/h) or having no distance from the car in front, whatsoever.

So, is there an alternative if you don’t want to use public transport and if you want to avoid driving in a small clattering yellow taxi with maybe a somewhat crazy driver?

Yes, there is and it’s called Uber.

More About Uber

Uber is a peer-to-peer ride-sharing/transportation company headquartered in San Francisco, California in the United States. The company has grown to where it operates in over 780 cities worldwide. And the company reportedly completes over 15 million trips daily and it has over 3 million drivers.

The company arrived in Colombia in 2013 and is currently present in 12 cities in Colombia with nearly 90,000 drivers in Colombia and more than 2.3 million users. However, Uber likely lost many drivers and customers over the first three weeks of February 2020 when the company turned off its service in Colombia.

Uber is reportedly available only in the following cities in Colombia:

  • Barranquilla
  • Bogotá
  • Bucaramanga
  • Cali
  • Cartagena
  • Medellín
  • Cali
  • Cúcuta
  • Ibague
  • Monteria
  • Pereira
  • Popayán
  • Valledupar

So, if traveling to a smaller city or town in Colombia, the service is not an option.

Advantages – 10 Reasons Why Uber is a Superior Experience

If you are in one of the larger cities in Colombia that has service, here are 10 reasons why Uber offers a superior experience to taxis:

1. Quality of the Vehicles

As I said in the section above, one thing I am interested in is the technical quality of the vehicle I’m in. Almost every Uber vehicle I have been in has been in good or even almost new condition.

Most Uber vehicles were in really good shape and just one or two years old. The A/C works, the windows are electric powered and the seats are comfortable and they have seat belts.

Renault Sandero is a common Uber car in Colombia, photo by Umehlig

Renault Sandero is a common Uber car in Colombia, photo by Umehlig

Uber maintains certain standards when it comes to vehicles used by drivers. Also, the Uber vehicles tend to be larger than the normal small taxis found in Medellín and other cities in Colombia.

Typical Uber vehicles I have seen include:

  • Renault Sandero
  • Renault Duster
  • Daihatsu Terios
  • Volkswagon Amarok

2. Quality of the Drivers 

I don’t know the reasons behind this, but the average Uber driver generally seems to be calmer than a taxi driver.

In my opinion this is the main reason Uber offers a better experience. It’s was just a more relaxed overall feeling being in an Uber vehicle.

In my experience, Uber drivers also tend to be more conservative in how they drive than taxi drivers. One reason for this is likely due to a risk of poor ratings and reviews from customers.

3. Seat Belts

As basic as it sounds, all Uber vehicles have seat belts, even in the back of the car.

In comparison, all the buses in Colombia don’t have seat belts. Also, unfortunately, some of the taxis in Colombia do not have seat belts in the back seat. And a few taxis in my experience don’t even have a working seat belt in the front passenger seat.

4. Safety

Uber is generally known for being a safe way to travel in Medellín and other cities in Colombia. You can see the license plate number of the vehicle before you take the ride.

Also, you can see a photo of the driver in the Uber mobile app. But some of the taxi mobile apps also offer this feature – providing the license plate number and photo of the driver.

But Uber went a step further, as drivers are required to get a background check.

Also, you can see the Uber reviews of the other customers in the mobile app before you even take a ride. So, this review process for drivers helps to make sure that drivers are safe and reliable.

But if you’re still unsure after you booked an Uber driver, just cancel the ride and ask for another driver.

5. Credit or Debit Card Payment

When you sign up with a Uber account you were required to use a valid credit or debit card. And your rides are charged to your account upon completion of each ride.

This is considered a security advantage. So, you didn’t have to carry cash with you and worry about having small bills. However, some taxi mobile apps also accept credit and debit card payments and are also cashless.

With Uber you won’t have the hassle of uncomfortably grabbing your wallet while sitting in the vehicle and counting the money before getting out.

Uber drivers also didn’t expect a tip, which is the same as taxi drivers in Colombia. So, you didn’t have to think about tips when taking an Uber vehicle or with taxis.

With Uber, everything was paid with your debit or credit card. And you just comfortably step out the vehicle once you arrive, without having to think about paying or tipping.

6. Receipts

Another little advantage with Uber is that you receive a receipt at the end of the ride, which is sent to your email inbox. This receipt includes the time, date, breakdown of the fare, drive and a map showing the start and destination locations.

You can also view a history of every ride you have taken on both the Uber mobile app and their website.

One disadvantage of most other means of transport is that you won’t get a receipt. And this is especially annoying if you are on a business trip.

7. Rating and Reviewing Drivers

Uber’s mobile app requires every rider to rate their driver before he/she can ask for another ride.

So, drivers have a big reason to treat customers well to keep a high rating. And Uber even reportedly gets rid of drivers with consistently poor ratings from customers.

Also, drivers have the ability to rate riders. This encourages customers to treat drivers with respect.

8. Customer Service

Uber has customer service, which is integral to their company experience. The customer service experience includes the quality of drivers, the disposition of drivers and ease of use. In my opinion, there is no comparison between Uber’s customer service and the customer service of taxis.

For example, when I was in South Africa, the Uber app for some reason did not recognize that we left the car. So, I ended up being charged around two times the price.

I filled a claim in about five minutes inside the app and stated what happened. Inside of two days I got my money back. That’s what I call customer service!

No questions asked, everything was self-explanatory and fast.

Uber drivers also have incentives to treat customers well, which is not the case if you are using taxis – via a mobile app like EasyTaxi, calling for taxis or hailing taxis on street.

9. Price for Uber

Surprisingly, Uber rides can sometimes be less expensive than taxi rides in many cities around the world.

This really amazes me because it’s a better service and a better experience plus can be cheaper. But it’s not always cheaper due to increased fares during high demand times like rush hour.

I myself can say, all around the world not just in Medellín, that I would be happy to pay around 15 to 25 percent more for the Uber experience than a taxi. This is no matter if I am in my home country of Switzerland or in Medellín or in another city like Quito.

A typical price for Laureles to El Poblado which would take around 10 to 15 minutes cost (depending on traffic) around 12,000 pesos ($4 USD) for UberYa or higher for Comfort.

On average, when you factor in the higher fares during peak times, Uber was marginally more expensive on average than taxis. But in my opinion the service experience is much better using Uber.

10. Route tracking 

Another nice feature with Uber was route tracking. You can send somebody a link with your current status and they can see on a map where you currently are.

This feature on one hand is good for security and on the other hand can be useful if you have a meeting or something of importance.

So, a lot of good things about Uber that makes it one of the best experiences of getting around in Medellín and other big cities in Colombia.

Downsides of Using Uber in Medellín and Colombia

However, not everything is perfect with Uber. There are certainly downsides of the Uber experience as well. Here are five downsides:

Rush-hour in Medellín

Rush-hour in Medellín

Downside #1. Availability

Getting around in Medellín during rush hour is a hassle. The metro is packed like sardines and is full of people. Also, taxis seem to almost all be occupied and buses are full as well. Furthermore, this is a similar problem in other cities in Colombia, particularly Bogotá.

But what about Uber? It’s was also very hard to request an Uber vehicle in Medellín during rush hour because the demand was high. Getting other means of transport is not easy as well. But often it’s easier to hail a taxi on the street instead of ordering an Uber vehicle through the app.

It’s the same in Bogotá. It could be very difficult to request an Uber vehicle during rush hour. Also, as mentioned earlier, the company was only available in 12 cities in Colombia.

Another annoying thing especially during rush hour is that some drivers would first confirm your ride and after a couple minutes they cancel it.

Downside #2: Cost During Rush Hour

If you are lucky enough to find an Uber vehicle available during rush hour, the price used to be up to 50 percent higher than a normal ride during the day. The new Uber service launched on February 20, 2020 may not have this demand pricing, which was a major legal issue with the taxi companies.

On February 20, 2020, plaintiff group (Taxis Libres and Cotech) were meeting with their lawyers and preparing a formal communication if the existence of dynamic rates persists in Uber.

Downside #3: Waiting Time

The supply of Uber riders does not always meet the high demand. That can mean, that you have to wait 10-20 minutes for your ride after ordering it from the mobile app.

And sometimes in Medellín if you were not in El Poblado or Laureles, it’s possible that there are no rides around because of high demand.

So, you have to take another means of transportation to reach your destination.

Downside #4: Illegal?

After reading that Uber seems to be readily available in Medellín in Colombia, you would never think that it’s actually illegal, right?

There are several countries in the world like Bulgaria, Denmark and Hungary, where the company has actually been banned and forced to withdraw.

Uber has been battling the legality of its service in Colombia for several years. In November 2015, President Santos even granted the company only six months to register as a formal company or be banned from the country.

But Uber did not comply and was deemed “illegal” and authorities even seized over 1,200 vehicles in Bogotá in 2016 in a showdown with the government. But the company continued to operate.

Uber has refused to register with the Colombian government as a taxi service. And the company has disputed the characterization of the company as a taxi company.

It has previously said that “Uber is a technology company legally constituted in Colombia. There is no administrative or legal act that has declared our operation illegal, nor are there any rules in the country that prohibit or punish citizens who share their private vehicles.”

Uber also claims it’s not an employer, but a “partner” of its affiliate drivers. So, it says it’s exempt from paying compulsory health and pension benefits to its drivers and taxes to the government.

In May 2017, taxi drivers in Colombia went on strike demanding a full Uber shut-down. And most of the confrontations between taxi drivers and Uber in Colombia have been in Bogotá. However, the company continued to operate in Colombia.

Also, on December 20, 2019, Colombia ordered Uber to cease its ride-hailing operations in Colombia, effective immediately, after a judge ruled the company violated competition rules. However, Uber said in a statement that it rejects the ruling and immediately appealed it. Uber said in a statement on December 20:

This decision reflects an act of censorship and infringes on the Inter American Convention on Human Rights, which has already condemned attempts to block Uber for violating the neutrality of the web, liberty of expression and freedom of Internet.

In spite of the ruling on December 20, 2019, Uber still operated in Colombia. However, on January 10, 2020, Uber decided to exit the Colombia market with its last day on January 31, 2020. But Uber returned to Colombia after three weeks on February 20, 2020.

Downside #5: The Political Discussion

The political discussion ranges from lack of insurance with Uber drivers to unfair competition with the company not having to pay for benefits for drivers and dynamic pricing.

On the other side, Uber believes that the Colombian government is infringing on consumer rights by protecting the traditional taxi industry and its drivers, who dislike the competition.

But with nearly 90,000 drivers and more than 2.3 million users in Colombia there is clearly demand for an alternate service to taxis. However, Uber likely lost many of these drivers and customers when the app was turned off for three weeks in February 2020.

Uber App, courtesy of Uber

Uber App, courtesy of Uber

Signing Up With Uber

To sign up with Uber, you simply downloaded the mobile app for your smartphone for Android or iPhone.  Then sign up for an account with your credit or debit card.

With this mobile app, there was no need to call, wait in a line, or wave from a curb. Simple tap “request” on your phone from the comfort of indoors and wait for a push notification that your driver is “arriving now.”

The Bottom Line: Using Uber in Medellín and Colombia

Uber offers a great experience of getting around in Medellín and other cities in Colombia like Bogotá. Many people use this service on a daily basis in the big cities in Colombia.

Uber left Colombia on February 1, 2020. But only three weeks later Uber returned on February 20, 2020. During the three week absence, alternatives Beat and DiDi likely added many new customers and Uber likely lost many drivers.

Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.

Editors note: updated on January 12, 2020 with information that Uber on January 10, 2020, decided to exit the Colombia market on January 31, 2020. So, Uber will no longer be an option in Colombia.

Editors note: updated on February 1, 2020 with information that Uber is no longer available in Colombia.

Editors note: updated on February 19, 2020 with information that Uber has returned to Colombia.

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30 thoughts on “Uber in Colombia: Uber Returns to Medellin and Colombia”

    1. Uber is not a transport company, it is ILLEGAL. The taxi service is now very bad, I agree with you that taxi drivers are not really taxi drivers but for them to become true professionals of the wheel, they must do a joint work between the government, the taxi companies and the mintic so that the taxi service is identical to that of Japan, that is what we must aim for. In fact, today it is not a profession, anyone can be a taxi driver and that is exactly the problem.
      But on the other hand, if we have one hundred percent Colombian taxi drivers with a study at a university and graduates to be a taxi driver as is done in Europe and where there is an application of the Colombian government better than uber that controls the service, believe me that the conditions will be created for have a complete harmony between taxi drivers, owners and / or companies and of course users, for sure,
      until you change your mind.

      On the other hand, I consider that as Colombians it is the only true and durable solution to the problem because there are more than 2 million compatriots who live directly or indirectly from a taxi in this country.
      Therefore I never support or support a multinational that comes and exploits people by making them believe that they are independent “partners”, but all that is more than false. It is a super marketing strategy that the UBER mafia uses and that works for them mainly in third world countries like ours, where many people out of ignorance follow crowds thinking that they are right, but in reality the only true partners are the owners foreigners who from the Silicon Valley get richer and richer because they don’t even know where my beloved Colombia is. Therefore, they will never be able to employ a Colombian like you offering him a true decent job.

      The sole interest of the UBER mafia is to exploit and take the wealth abroad, leaving us more and more misery. On the contrary, a local taxi company, if it is hiring one hundred percent Colombian labor and offers decent jobs with insurance and pension benefits, since they hire financiers, accountants, messengers, secretaries, brass, mechanics, spare parts workshops, etc. etc generating a lot of decent employment indirectly.
      If Uber is so good, why don’t they hire them by paying benefits, parafiscals, social security, etc., offering a real employment contract to their employees and offering decent jobs? because ultimately, uber drivers are actually uber employees, only that it serves them to say that they are “partners” to save on the payment of social benefits, pension, insurance, etc … Real decent jobs if they believe them, but far away from Colombia.

    2. FInance Colombia
      Guest Opinion: A Signal of Caution For Direct Investment in Colombia—Über VP of Global Public Policy

      https://www.financecolombia.com/guest-opinion-a-signal-of-caution-for-direct-investment-in-colombia-uber-vp-of-global-public-policy/

    3. Today I wenti to makro San Juan. Ordered my Uber. Wide guy driver demanded I sit up front. In his tiny car. I am 6’2. Obviously because UBER is illegal anf the fine is out of this world he wanted me to sit in front giving the impression we are buddies out for a drive. I had opened the rear door and he demanded I sit in front. He sped off with the rear door open and nearly ran over my feet. Not only has Medellin Medellin become a very dangerous place using any form of conveyance but now my one oasis from insanity UBER sends me a reckless madman who looked high as a kite and rude. Today UBER was RUDER. The city is becoming a war zone and the mean streets have become meaner than ever. Time to move to Cuenca and get away from this war zone.

      • Good luck in Podunk Cuenca. I moved to Medellin from Cuenca as that place has been oversold by the retirement publications like International Lying for years. I agree with Jeff’s Medellin vs Cuenca article, see what awaits you in Cuenca ——- https://medellinguru.com/medellin-vs-cuenca/

        To me, Cuenca is colder, more expensive, overrun bygringos, fewer restaurant options, a socialist government and even more corruption than in Colombia. It’s a dump that I am glad I left.

    4. RICHIE June 18, 2019

      What would be an estimated price to pay for a Taxi from MDE airport to Calle 41a in Laureles? Thank you.

    5. Lawrence R Rose October 25, 2018

      Why do you flout Colombian law. ? You sound like the guy who can’t believe the country has any right to punish him for overstaying his visa. And rather than support local cabs you would rather send your money to a $66 BILLION company in San Francisco. One with VERY sketchy business practices. Skirting the law by naming its employees something that requires no responsibility of the company to them.. “Partners”. This is typical exploitation by big US business. And it calls itself a tech firm, not a taxi service? And you wonder why Colombia has cracked down! Five years of yellow taxi and I am very pleased. They help to make Medellin as livable as it is. And yes, I have used Uber three times. each time was regrettable… worst choice of routes, not able to find my house. Better cars, worse service.

      • You are quite correct. I completely agree with you as far as uber being questionable. They do have safe cars properly maintained. That is a fact even I have to admit. Rear seat belts are so important and are almost impossible to find here in yellow cabs. How sad and scary.

    6. Taxis are usually dirty while cars used as uber are almost always clean.

    7. Do you realize that you can report bad behavior of taxi drivers, we had a run in with one and he was suspended from driving for 5 days. Get the plate number and the company he drives for and report him.

    8. If you are referring to me personally. Well I don’t live in millionaire acres and live in the real world unlike sone here who don’t have the slightest clue about life for the average expat and native here in this very dangerous city. I have lived here off and on for 45 years. Experience dictates perspective. The next time you see a dead pedestrian on the street you may change your attitude. En serio.

    9. I had an Uber driver from MDE to El Poblado who was interesting. He didn’t have cash for tolls. He asked us to pay the toll and he would not add that to the Uber fee. He kept his word but what if we didn’t have cash? Also, crazy drivers? It was raining and you know the roads from the airport. Well he was going quite fast and my wife and I kept looking at each other scared on the turns and on one turn we both braced ourselves and sure enough he went into a skid. He recovered just before the guardrail. UGH. As for the crazy driver aspect of Taxi drivers, I found that that was the typical way to drive. One of the things my wife loves about America is that when driving in the US more people follow rules and it’s more orderly. I personally looked at the driving there as “controlled chaos. LOL

      • That road from the airport to town is treacherous especially when wet. Drivers here dont realize how dangerous and I am not sure they have the capacity to understand that fact. They live in another reality. I have seen many many many newspaper reports of multiple deaths on that road. More than I care to talk about. Tell your drivers in advance to drive carefully especially around those curves or dont bother driving me. Be firm and let them know you demand safety. Most drivers will comply albeit reluctantly. I have told several to stop.the car and let me out at the next safe spot. My life has value whether the cab driver likes it or not. This is no joking matter and not to be trivialized by some of us expat thrill seekers who are here for a joy ride to the funeral parlor. This is not disneyworld.

      • 318 accidents reported on the las Palmas highway from January to August 2018. The following is an official statement released by government officials.
        We consulted these dependencies about accident rates, but to date only the Ministry of Mobility of Medellín delivered the following data: the number of accidents decreased; between January and August of 2018 there were 318 accidents, 65 less than those that occurred in the same period of 2017. As for those affected, this year there were 122 injuries and four fatalities.
        Less than last year BUT the number is staggering nevertheless due to reckless and imprudent driving by those who drive without regard for their safety and the safety ofnothers. The road is one of the most dangerous in all of Colombia especially going downhill.

    10. Exactly right. How sad but one must realize how UBER gets away without paying its fair share of taxes and insurance. The sad thing is the yellow cab indusrty fails the public miserably and fails to correct the inadequacies. They need a complete overhaul and oversight (never happen in this corrupt city). Additionally transit law enforcement is only provided by blue uniformed Transito agents who are so understaffed, unmotivated and appear to be aged and tired and lazy and very underpaid that they are rarely seen. Policia do not enforce traffic violations and that alone is the main reason drivers just run amok here. If it were not for Pica Placa and the occasional photo multas at some traffic lights, and some road blocks, law enforcement of traffic related violations would be virtually non existent. This is the Wild West. The streets are mean and dangerous and stop signs and traffic laws here mean next to nothing. Watch yourself traversing these deadly thoroughfares. Life has no value on these streets. Ask any native and let them verify my assertions. Most take the harsh reality in stride and accept what they know is a problem almost unsolvable in such a lawless town. Every man for themselves here.

    11. Pete Halsted October 25, 2018

      We have used Uber for most of our trips in Medellin so far. With my limited spanish, for me the convenience of the app communicating where I am and where I want to go is the biggest advantage. We have done exactly 1 yellow cab ride, from Mayorca to home and it took me 10 minutes of limited spanish and hand signals to get the driver turned around and going the right direction. The ride ended up costing me twice what uber would have been.

      You mentioned EasyTaxi a couple of times in the post, but when I tried to use it, it was very confusing, there seems to have been a merger between Tappsi and EasyTaxi but there are still two apps, and of course the interface is in spanish which doesn’t help. If you could update your articles on the Taxi Apps with new info on the merger and usability hints that would be great.

      Only reason I am interested in the Taxi apps is being in the southern of Sabaneta, we have experienced the long waits and the accepted/canceled rides during rush hour a couple of times. That along with the security factor of at least there is an app, that should have somewhat of a record of where I was going and who picked me up, versus just hoping in a radom taxi.

      • Uber is ok depending on the experience of the driver. On a scale of 1-10 rating uber drivers personal knowledge of the city without the aid of the gps is in my opinion a 5 at best. Many uber drivers are completely useless without their gps. Lets be honest people.

        • Some of these Uber guys are quite new and really struggle to drive around Laureles. But the cars are cleaner and if they know where they are going quite simple

          • The vast majority of uber drivers are very courteous and pleasant. What concerns me if their total reliance on gps navigation. The other day the driver keep looking down at his cell phobe/gps navigation program and nearly crashed into a pedestrian. I told him to STOP using the GPS and follow my verbal directions and we arrived safely. Uber drivers are not as street and city smart as yellow cab drivers. Sad to see how inexperienced so many UBER driver are. I do love their vehicles. Know your route in case your driver doesn’t is my suggestion.

    12. Great article! We recently moved to Envigado where there are many lomas to navigate around. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to direct taxi drivers to find our apartment. I prefer Uber, they never fail. Easy Taxi works sometimes, but Uber is the way to go.

      I have also noticed during rainy season, when you need a taxi or Uber most, they are not available. Seems like they want to avoid all of the traffic jams and lay low until the weather improves.

      • Hey John. Yes rain here is what snow is in Switzerland. Nobody likes to drive and there are way more accidents.

    13. Do not know about Bogota but Uber is illegal in Medellin. Already cases of taxis stopping Uber drivers and assaulting them. Unsafe if you are a passenger during one of these attacks.
      If you use Uber sit in the front I guess that way you do not look like a passenger so much.( they usually ask for you to sit in the front anyways).
      Be safe

      • Hey Mike. Yes that’s exactly the reason why you should sit in front. It’s an ongoing discussion here in Colombia about the political situation of Uber.

    14. Wow. Wow and Wow. Great article. Yellow cabs when driven by mature drivers are just OK. Mostly vehicles poorly maintained and rarely will rear seat belts be available. The younger men mostly are rude thugs with zero respect for passengers or pedestrians and the law. They deserve to be stripped of all driving privileges permanently. I ask them as I enter to drive prudently, as I have a bad heart condition. Sometimes it works but most not and they do whatever they please. One time the driver actually told me to get out because I was crimping his style and let me off in a very bad section to fend for myself. True story.

      Uber drivers are super nice and respectful but do run illegally and fear yellow cab reprisals and attacks of violence to them do occur. They do not carry the proper taxi insurance and do operate way outside of taxi laws. Sad but true. Buses here are nightmarish and I will never take another one again. Bus drivers are the worst I have experienced in my life. This is a very dangerous town to get around in using any form of conveyance including feet. Oh by the way many UBER drivers are newjacks and depend on their gps app. The maps are outdated and useless in many areas here in town. I HAVE been taken on wild goose.chases using UBER. (True story) good luck have fun and be careful using unsafe yellow cabs driven by savages.

      • Adam G. Katz October 25, 2018

        “This is a very dangerous town to get around in using any form of conveyance including feet.” — Jesus, what happened to you?

        • Brigitte White July 16, 2019

          Adam – Ron’s comments are spot on. Yours – on the other hand – is quite ignorant and disrespectful. I doubt that you are a permanent resident of Medellin. It IS dangerous to get around here, including as a pedestrian

      • Hey Ron Thanks a lot for the comment.

      • Kevin Wylie January 11, 2020

        Re: Uber
        Jan 11 2020 Uber has announced it will cease service in Colombia effective 01 Feb 2020…

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