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News Article

Adaptability: Mexico City’s Best Public Transportation Tool

By Jorge Ramos Zwanziger | Wed, 11/25/2020 - 17:45

COVID-19 hit Mexico hard. Earlier this week Bloomberg ranked Mexico last in its COVID-19 resilience ranking. Why? Mexico scored poorly in all of the ranking’s criteria: monthly cases, death rates, deaths per million and positive test rates. The report reads: “The nation’s latest available positive test rate is a whopping 62 percent.” This could be higher due to the country’s limited testing. What does this mean for the Mexican mobility industry?

The Mexico City government reported a loss of MX$2.28 billion (US$110 million) in public transportation revenue during 3Q20. The biggest loss was in Mexico City’s Collective Transportation System, Metro, which saw a 32.4 percent decrease in expected income. The report highlights that “this performance is attributable to the reduction in mobility following COVID-19 containment measures.” Now, there is an opportunity for innovation in the mobility industry in Mexico.

Urbvan Transit, a Mexican startup that focuses on a private transportation service and is one of the Top 10 companies in LinkedIn’s Top Startups 2020, is an example of a firm that has been able to adapt to the pandemic through a flexible business model, explains Entrepreneur. One of the company’s latest strategies has been to join with Uber in its Mobility-as-a-Service (Maas) platform to expand its users’ options. Joao Albino, Co-Founder of Urbvan, told MBN that “citizens are revaluating mobility costs and the importance of living in accessible cities that offer them different transportation options in a safe and efficient way.” Safety is key to adapt to the new normal, as well. “It is essential that companies redesign their operations and business models,” said Renato Picard, Urbvan Transit Co-Founder, to MBN. Urbvan has followed strict safety protocols that guarantee the safety of its users: acrylic plastics for seat separation, constant sanitization and mandatory mask usage to prevent contagion. Urbvan has found opportunity by focusing on adaptation.

What can Mexico City do to adapt? Earlier this week, Adriana Lobo, Executive Director of WRI Mexico, told MBN that “cities are at the center of the crisis caused by COVID-19 and, therefore, of discussions regarding post-pandemic recovery.” WRI Mexico released a report on a Sustainable Revolution for Mexico. Concerning mobility, the report states Mexico needs to establish flexible objectives regarding demand management to flatten the contagion curve in public transportation, to guarantee the financial sustainability of the mobility sector and to implement protocols and measures to protect the health of users. The report also suggests investing in different mobility solutions that are not motorized by focusing on active mobility instead, which is based around physical activity. This can be done through the coordination and cooperation of the public and private sectors in Mexico.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
MBN, WRI Mexico, Bloomberg, Entrepeneur
Photo by:   alekseyevskaya, Unsplash
Jorge Ramos Zwanziger Jorge Ramos Zwanziger Junior Journalist and Industry Analyst