For the first time ever, Uber is offering passengers cross-border rides from the United States into Mexico.
The program, called UberPASSPORT, began driving passengers from San Diego to Tijuana on Friday.
“In our increasingly interconnected binational region, travel between San Diego and Tijuana is a daily occurrence for more than 300,000 individuals,” said Paola Avila, vice president of International Business Affairs for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Whether for business or leisure, Uber’s new service provides a simple and reliable travel option that will open more economic opportunities for our region.”
Uber tells Fox News Latino they’ve identified 50,000 people, or roughly 10 percent of their Uber ridership in San Diego, who have made trips to the border in the past and would likely utilize this new program.
However, there is a catch.
While traveling to Mexico is as simple as hopping into an Uber, there are no direct rides back from Mexico into the U.S. Instead, riders must take two separate Uber rides: one to the Mexican border, and another from the U.S. border to their final destination in San Diego.
Once in Mexico, UberPASSPORT will take riders throughout the Baja Norte region of Mexico – to as far east as Mexicali, as far south as Ensenada, and to Valle de Guadalupe, referred to as the area’s Napa Valley.
Fares vary, but there is a $20 cross-border fee added to every fare but each fare can be split between up to four passengers. Generally, a trip from downtown San Diego to Tijuana Airport will cost $100.
— Ryan Graves (@ryangraves) March 17, 2016
The cross-border trips are only available through Uber’s black-car option to ensure safety. While this will cost riders more than UberX, Uber tells Fox News Latino, the black car option ensures all drivers are commercially licensed and properly insured. The company wants to be certain that professional, trained drivers are taking their customers on these cross-border trips.
Once in Mexico, riders are encouraged to request an UberENGLISH to be paired up with an English-speaking local driver in Tijuana. They can then request to be driven to the international border.
"From there, travelers can use the pedestrian lane to cross back into the U.S.," read an Uber press statement. Once passengers cross the border into the U.S., riders can request an Uber into San Diego.
The company will not enter the U.S. from Mexico to avoid having to deal with the immigration paperwork involved in ensuring that that all drivers and passengers are legally allowed to enter the country.
Uber says this this is a major first step for UberPASSPORT, which looks to continue to foster more cross-border business opportunities.
The program has the full support of San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, who is a Republican.
“San Diego is a world-class city of creative minds and innovative people," Faulconer said in a statement. "We’re constantly finding solutions to global issues and breaking barriers to opportunities for residents."
Bryan Llenas currently serves as a New York-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC) and a reporter for Fox News Latino (FNL). Click here for more information on Bryan Llenas. Follow him on Twitter @BryanLlenas.