Mexico City Group – Stage 3 Assignment 3
1.212 – May 11, 2005
EDITORIAL FROM LA REFORMA – Defining the Current Issues
Mexico City, as the most populated city on Earth, has contended with some of the most complex
transportation problems of any metropolitan area in the world.
A recent op-ed article in the Mexico City
newspaper La Reforma illustrates some of these challenges and their possible solutions:
The intense and sometimes wild competition for passengers among unregulated
heavy traffic of more than 3 million vehicles in congested avenues and the highly polluted air, make
commuting within the Mexico City Metropolitan Area (MCMA) an intimidating experience that
hinders quality of life and economic development.
One critical component of the transportation equation in the MCMA is public transportation; after
all, sixty nine percent of all motorized trips take place in this mode. Half of all public transit trips
take place in
which are small minibuses that operate like “fixed route collective taxis,”
without a strict regulation from the authorities. Although
are very flexible and provide an
affordable transportation alternative for most of the population, its institutional and economic model
creates many problems for the city. For instance, individuals and not transportation companies, own
minibuses. Furthermore, the drivers’ salary is not fixed, but depends on the number of passengers
As a result, competition on the streets is hard and driving is aggressive. Also, the
lack of regulation results in overcapacity in highly demanded corridors, causing congestion and lack
of service in areas where demand is low.
On the other hand, Metro and Light Rail account for fourteen percent of all motorized trips within
the MCMA. While the Metro network has been gradually expanding since the sixties, this
transportation mode has been losing ridership, both because of the highly unregulated competition
and because of the inability of the Metro network to adapt to the growing and
dynamic travel demand of the metropolitan area. Finally, city owned buses complete the picture of
public transit in the MCMA. This mode, which used to have the highest share of public transit in the
eighties, has fallen sharply both because of the burden of unionized workers, and the guerrilla-like
which also made this transit mode fall in crisis.
In conclusion, the
MCMA is depending more and more on the unregulated
for the provision of transit.
But the increasing dependence in