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A Warning on 'Cloned' Cabs in Mexico City

February 11, 2001|ASSOCIATED PRESS

MEXICO CITY — Finding a safe cab here has gotten harder: Even those that display seemingly legal credentials may be unsafe.

Savvy travelers have long known that street cabs failing to display permits and a driver's photo I.D. could be "pirate" cabs--phony taxis often driven by thieves trolling for victims. Now it turns out that many taxis that appear to have proper credentials are "cloned" cabs that use fake papers and license plates to lure unsuspecting customers, the Mexico City newspaper Reforma reported last week.

Of nearly 104,000 street taxis in Mexico City, more than 20,000 are "cloned" and 16,000 others are "pirate" cabs that either lack documents and plates or use legal plates from a different car, the Taxi Institute told the newspaper.

The only way to guarantee a safe cab ride, officials advise, is to call a sitio, or authorized taxi stand.

So far this year, there have been 82 reports of crimes committed aboard taxis, officials said.

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