Fernando Páez
Urban Mobility at CTS EMBARQ Méxic
View from the Top

More Integration for a Better Connection

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 15:42

Q: What challenges are there to creating a transport system that covers not just Mexico City but the entire metropolitan area?

A: The ultimate goal is an integrated metropolitan transport system. Citizens and local authorities are beginning to realize Mexico City is not isolated but inextricably linked with many neighboring states. We believe an integrated metropolitan transport system is the only way to meet people’s mobility needs. We face challenge having neglected to collectively develop the concept of a metropolitan community or society. The political-administrative divisions of each region believe the problem should be solved locally rather than regionally. Unfortunately, political divisions and political objectives create difficulties for public policy on sustainable mobility. While there are some isolated efforts to find solutions, few connect the State of Mexico with Mexico City.

Q: How is CTS EMBARQ lobbying to create an integrated mobility strategy for public transportation?

A: CTS EMBARQ is raising awareness about this need in Mexico City that should include services, technology, city image, infrastructure and payment methods. It should have a metropolitan focus regardless of the political-administrative divisions. At CTS EMBARQ, we have created a conceptual design to transform and integrate Mexico City’s transport system. This can serve as the foundation to begin the process of transformation. The creation of the Mexico City Constitution offers an invaluable opportunity to regulate and set a precedent for public transport in the metro area. Our efforts were rewarded with the incorporation of a clause on integrated transportation systems in the Mobility Law. It stated that the city’s administration should provide the necessary resources to reach our mutual goal. Change must happen gradually and every mobility solution should guarantee connectivity without considering political and administrative limitations

We need to make consolidating political will a public policy priority to make this solution work. There is little clarity about the necessary steps to implement a new mobility system. The approach local authorities are taking is still unclear. Beyond the issues of transport technology and vehicle engineering, the system should be well managed from an institutional perspective. We need efficient institutions that can plan and operate the system with public and private funding.

The system should be focused on the end user. There is the political will in Mexico City to make this happen but we need to expand these efforts to the rest of the metropolitan area. Integrating the transport system could begin in Mexico City with the BRT Metrobús, the suburban train and the metro lines. Privately owned collective transport in the city needs to be regulated and integrated both physically and operationally with stateowned transport.

Q: What is the most pressing issue regarding mobility system changes?

A: Pollution has put a spotlight on the public transport system’s shortcomings and has challenged us to change the current system. Fleet renovation must be considered as it will require an important investment from the state and private transport owners. The federal government has announced it will provide a certain amount of resources. The promise of a new fleet should encourage the creation of public transport companies, which would simplify the process of defining standards. Financing this new system has several implications. Besides replacing old units with new ones, the right infrastructure needs to exist to provide timely maintenance.

Q: How can the government ensure a healthy renovation strategy for the entire public transportation network?

A: The city requires a clear fleet-renovation plan that considers all legislative, technical and financial aspects. We should define where the resources for the transport system will come from. The box fares only pay for fuel, the drivers’ wages, concession fees and minimal maintenance services. Certain aspects such as tax payments and social benefits are not covered by current box fares. These additional expenses should be covered either by raising ticket fares or government subsidies. This is a complicated decision because increasing user fares will have a significant social impact.

Beyond the government’s own position, it is also important to consider whether transport owners are willing to make the necessary changes and adapt to a structured organization. No authority is enforcing the necessary regulations to achieve this as making the leap from a chaotic situation to an organized and regulated plan will incur extra costs.

Q: How is CTS EMBARQ helping implement an improved transport system?

A: Our objective is to promote integrated public transport systems. Our research indicates people have four main expectations about travel. The population expects reasonable commute times, personal and road safety, connectivity and open information about mobility options. We help transform institutional and technological plans by working closely with the city government, the State of Mexico and citizens. CTS EMBARQ suggests training the State of Mexico authorities to demonstrate the importance of having an intelligent and integrated mobility system. It is important to enable decision-makers to assess and evaluate the expectations of public transport users.