News Article

Public Transportation a Primary Need for The City

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 04/20/2020 - 17:16

Mexico City’s urbanization has been a life-long project. Since the city became one of the most populated regions in the world, many challenges stood at its doorstep hoping to be addressed. Every administration has tried to improve the living conditions in the city by trying to build housing opportunities, more options for public transportation, sustainable transportation ways, transit rules to avoid pollution and improving basic public services conditions.

Nothing seems to be enough to handle the upgrowing city that asks for more every time.

Mobility has always been on the spotlight, with a highly populated city that has expanded to the borders of other states. Connections and transport are key to sustain the whole city as many people depend on one or many public transportation means to get to work.

According to the last INEGI data, Mexico City has 8.855 million habitants, having a flow of about 21 million people, according to the UN. The Ministry of Mobility of Mexico City (SEMOVI) says 82 percent of the people in the capital use public transportation with collective transport being the most used out of the around 12 options that exist in the city. SEMOVI registers around 29,128 units of collective transport but earlier this year, it was reported that 97 percent of them present anomalies and failures that makes them illegal to circulate.

According to the Cabinet of Strategic Communication, 39.9 percent of the mobility is absorbed by the collective transport, 28.2 percent of the population uses bus and microbuses, taxis are used by 8.9 percent of the population, while the subway receives 8.6 percent of all users. Fifteen percent of the people depending on public mobility combine subway and buses. 40.8 percent of the users depend on public transportation to get to work, while 29 percent for groceries.

While collective transport is the most used method, among users it is the worst qualified one and a very insecure one. From 2016 to 2018, robberies increased at a 57 percent rate according to a study made by GLAC Index. The report also showed that in 2019, there were 11.2 robberies per 100,000 people with 73 percent of them involving violence. Also, according to SEMOVI, the use of collective transport doubles the time of the average commute.

A study made by El Economista showed that public transportation represents 8.4 percent of the budget of a home from people living in the periphery of the city and that the spending decreases by half for the ones living in the metropolitan area.

At the moment, some public mobility services have been suspended due to the COVID-19 preventive measures. Sixty percent of the daily public transportation flow has disappeared but complaints about robberies and the bad conditions of the regular subway and metrobus wagons persist. While the sector tries to innovate with apps and different services such as Uber or DiDi, these platforms have not been well received by public transportation workers who say that these new services take up their job opportunities.

To guarantee the right of mobility in a city full of opportunities is of course a challenge. Coverage, safety and quality is expected from those services that are a necessity for at least 40 percent of the people. A successful policy to guarantee these services could mean an improvement of people’s quality of life but investment needs to be gradual.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst