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UberPassport: Ride Share Offers One-Way Rides Across Border to Mexico

On Friday, Uber launched UberPassport, a first-of-its-kind cross-border transportation service that will take passengers on a one-way trip from San Diego as far east as Mexicali, which is the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California, and also to Tijuana.

Prior to this service, individuals had to cross the border by foot and then call for a cab in Mexico.

“It’s very exciting for us because there are a lot of places where we could have launched a cross-border product, but we recognize the importance of the largest border crossing in the world and the unique relationship between San Diego and Tijuana,” Christopher Ballard, general manager for Uber in Southern California, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “These are cities whose families, cultures and economies are closely linked.”

Uber issued a statement about its new Passport service on their site” “Riders can now use the Uber platform to arrange one seamless trip from San Diego to Tijuana. Whether it’s a business trip or a beach getaway, Uber can help make your journey into Mexico safe and hassle-free.”

The rideshare startup says the idea for UberPassport stemmed from the mass cross-border commuting that already takes place between California and Mexico. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has in the past said that California was “the other Mexico.” According to a 2015 census conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 15 million Latinos living in California.

Passengers only require a valid passport and any other required documentation to make their trip smooth.

According to the Tribune, roughy 50,000 people have taken an Uber from San Diego border to the Mexican border. Passport’s cross-border trips are reportedly only available through the company’s black car service and an additional $20 convenience fee will be added to the per-mile and per-minute default rates that are normally charged.

For approximately $100, Passport passengers can take a ride from downtown San Diego to the Tijuana airport and for approximately $160 they can get a ride from Pacific Beach to Rosarito in Mexico. Fares can be split between up to four passengers.

According to Bloomberg, the reason Uber can only provide a one-way trip to Mexico is because the ride sharing service is taxed and regulated at the point of pickup, not drop-off.

Considering this is a one-way trip, the question remains: how will riders get back? Uber notes on its site that passengers will need to cross over by foot using the pedestrian lane. Uber provides “four steps” as to how people can cross back over into the United States on their site.

  1. Open the Uber app and request a ride from your current location in Tijuana
  2. Enter ‘TJ Border Pickup’ as the drop-off destination in the app for the San Ysidro International Border Crossing
  3. Cross into the U.S. using the pedestrian lane
  4. Once you’ve arrived on the U.S. side, request an Uber in San Diego to travel to your final destination

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer was at the launch of UberPassport, and issued the following statement:

San Diego is a world-class city of creative minds and innovative people. We’re constantly finding solutions to global issues and breaking barriers to opportunities for residents. Uber’s new program, UberPASSPORT, highlights the best of what San Diego has to offer by using one the world’s most innovative apps to bridge countries, businesses and families in a way that has never been done before.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.

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