For years, Mexico City’s Metro system has not received enough resources for adequate maintenance to meet basic security standards. According to experts, thanks to budget shortages, the system was also unable to achieve its goals set for 2020.
According to José Luegue, President, Ciudad Posible, the Metro is lacking significant maintenance and, because the system is operating at 50 percent of its budget, this brings consequences related to insecurity and operational risks. Moreover, the metro has not invested in new projects in years, according to him.
In an interview with La Prensa, Luegue stated that the metro is operating at a US$1.4 billion deficit. According to him, the lack of resources is getting more evident in the deterioration of the system’s facilities and infrastructure. This situation increases the risk of technical failures or even accidents. He pointed out that under PRI governments, the metro received a budged close to its operational costs.
Luegue served as President of Mexico City Legislative Assembly’s Commission on Roadways and Transit in 1994, when he participated in checking the Metro System’s Master Plan. At that time, the project planned for 20 lines operating by 2020, with every terminal station connecting with the State of Mexico. As of 2022, Luegue says there are no new projects to expand the system or the existing lines and the goal to connect the Metro with the 40 surrounding municipalities of the State of Mexico has not been achieved. “Currently, we just have 12 lines, with the last one not being of the best quality,” Luegue added.
Luegue assured that the current deterioration did not came with Claudia Sheinbaum’s term as Mayor of Mexico City, but it is a chronic issue that the city has been dragging for 25 years. He said that the political autonomy given to Mexico City in 1997 affected the system’s budget since, from that date, Mexico City’s government took on most part of the metro’s expenses. He said that since Cuahutemoc Cárdenas took office as Mayor of Mexico City, the system has experienced reductions in budget and pointed out that under Sheinbaum’s administration, the government assigned just US$723 million to the system’s operations.
Subsidies are another factor that pressures the Metro system. Currently, the ticket is US$0.24 with over 5.5 million people using the system every day. This means the Metro receives around US$482 million a year. According to Luegue, if the metro fare were US$1 it could receive over US$2 billion. Nevertheless, he admitted that subsidies are more a political decision than an economic one.