La Profesora Abstraída

Weblog of Michelle Dion, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McMaster University. My blog has moved to Visit my other website.

Friday, June 10, 2005

El Metrobus

The last few months, there has been a flurry of construction activity along Mexico City's main North-South thoroughfare, Insurgentes. The construction is for a new system called "Metrobus." The idea is to replace hundreds of small and medium busses that travel along Insurgentes with one unified bus system. At intervals along Insurgentes, platforms are being built in the center median where patrons will wait for the busses. It's actually a lot like an above-ground bus-based metro system. And it's based on a similar system that Brian and I were able to use in Curitiba, Brazil in the Summer of 2003.

Picture of Curitiba system

In Curitiba, the system works so well, that it inspired Bogota, Colombia to install their version, which is credited with improving city life. I've suspected all along that the new Mexico City system is inspired by Curitiba, but this article confirms it.

Despite the success of the Metrobus set-up in other Latin American cities, most Mexicans that I know are fairly skeptical of how successful the system will be in the D.F. Most Mexicans doubt that they will be able to have enough Metrobuses to replace the small and medium-sized busses that now run the route. The new system means that officially there will be no left turns anywhere along Insurgentes, and instead Mexicans will have to take three rights to make a left at certain points along the route to go left. I'm skeptical that they'll be able to enforce the dedicated Metrobus lane in this way because I see people making prohibited left hand turns along Insurgentes all the time now. Why would this change with the new bus system? There were also protests initially because several large trees that lined the center median of Insurgentes had to be removed.

The DF government has announced that the Metrobus system will be inaugurated June 19 with two free weeks of service. Given the disarray of the platforms in my neighborhood (we live about four blocks from Insurgentes), I'm curious to see how they finish in time.

Picture of Metrobus

Take a look at this Metrobus slideshow.

posted by Michelle @ 10:25 AM,


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