Mayan Train Detractors Propose Metrobus System for Section 5
After a local court suspended activities for Sector 5 of the Mayan Train due to its missing Environmental Impact Assessment (MIA), environmental activists proposed alternatives to the project, which would also connect Tulum and Playa del Carmen. A system much like the Metrobus in Mexico City may be viable, argue the environmentalists.
At its Palenque-Cancun section, the Mayan Train can use pre-existing railroads, but for section 5, a tram or a bus on a dedicated and confined lane should be utilized, suggested Otto Von Bertrab, President, the Commission on Environment of the Employers Confederation of the Mexican Republic in the Mayan Riviera.
In an interview with La Jornada, Otto said that the construction of railroads in the sector using the current design will not be functional for neither tourists nor locals since the stations are far from the urban centers. Furthermore, the system could cause irreversible damage to the region’s cenotes and subterranean river systems.
In the same vein, Guillermo DChristy, Member, the Cenotes Urbanos de Playa del Carmen association told Forbes that the implementation of a light rail transit (LRT) system instead of a large train could open the possibility of having more stations, benefiting more inhabitants with access to public transport.
“The intention is that the transport system moving in parallel with the federal highway would be a light rail, with the possibility of developing more stations. That way, people could really use it. With the current plan, if workers plan to use the train, they would lose between 10 and 15 minutes to get to the train station,” DChristy added.
“Our proposal is that before anything else, [the government] stops and thinks of the environmental damage it is causing... We are not against the train, what we are against is the way it is carrying it out,” said DChristy. The opponents of Sector 5 therefore propose environmentally friendly solutions that benefit the communities more, such as an LRT and a system much like Mexico City’s famous Metrobus.
The Mayan Train project is one of the major infrastructure projects of the López Obrador administration. The train aims to boost Southern Mexico’s economy, a region that has been historically abandoned by the government. The project has faced several challenges, mainly because some organizations fear it could damage the environment and the rights of surrounding communities.