UberPASSPORT offering one-way trips over the border

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UberPASSPORT offering one-way trips over the border

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by Adriana Millar, Senior Staff Writer

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San Diego State students will now be able to use Uber to cross the Mexican border thanks to a new ride service announced on March 16.

The new ride service, called UberPASSPORT, will give riders in San Diego the option of traveling to Tijuana and all surrounding areas. However, the service is only available traveling from the US to Mexico.

Mechanical engineering senior Shelby Pfeifer said the one-way drop off wasn’t a deal breaker.

“It’s useful that you get to go in one way, but obviously it would be more ideal if you could go back out as well,” she said.

Uber reminds users to have proper documentation to return to the United States. Although UberPASSPORT is one-way to Mexico, riders can use Uber in Tijuana to reach the San Ysidro International Border Crossing. Once users have crossed the border, they can request a new trip in San Diego.

Pfeifer said crossing the border inevitably came with its own set of safety concerns.

“I think the safety concerns that would arise for me would mostly just be surrounded by going over the border, not so much taking an Uber there,” she said. “I might be worried that I would get over there and wouldn’t have a way to get back, or wouldn’t find a safe way back.”

Vice President of International Business Affairs for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Paola Avila said on Uber’s website that travel between San Diego and Tijuana is a daily occurrence for more than 300,000 individuals.

Public Health senior Geo Cabrera travels to Tijuana once a week for his culture and society of Tijuana class.

“From my understanding, from what I’ve actually learned in this class, the Mexican economy and the US economy heavily rely on each other,” Cabrera said. “That’s why there’s a lot of foot traffic at that international border, it’s actually one of the most active ones in the world.”

Although the new service is convenient, the price is not exactly college-student friendly. In addition to a $20 border crossing fee, the base fare for a ride is $4, with each mile costing $2.35, according to Uber’s website. The estimated cost of a ride from downtown San Diego to the Tijuana airport is $100.

Cabrera said he would be more likely to use Uber to cross the border if the cost was cheaper.

“Honestly that sounds a bit expensive compared to other things that you can do, but it does lower the risk of problems occurring with your own car in Mexico,” he said.

Automobile insurance for trips to Mexico is provided by a private Mexican insurance company, according to Uber’s website.

Latin American studies professor Victor Clark-Alfaro, who teaches culture and society of Tijuana, predicted that the majority of users would be tourists. The tourist industry is one of the main sources of income in the city, he said.

“I think that systems like this, or this kind of transportation will improve and probably invite more tourists to come more safely to Tijuana,” he said.

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