June marked the one year anniversary of MetroBus, Mexico City’s Bus Rapid Transit system. The occasion was celebrated with a city government event and a photographic exposition titled, “One Year in the Right Direction”.
MetroBus transports an average of 250,000 passengers a day during the week through 36 stations on Insurgentes Avenue, the city’s longest street.
The system had replaced 350 older microbuses with 97 brand new articulated diesel buses that have eliminated over 35,000 tons of greenhouse gases and reduced passenger exposure to tailpipe emissions by 23-59%, according to recent studies by the Mexico City-based Center for Sustainable Transport/
EMBARQ. The system has also managed to reduce travel time by an average of 33% as well as decrease accidents by 30%.
Another factor that distinguishes the MetroBus system from others is its flat fare. Passengers now pay $3.50 pesos (about $0.30 USD) per trip regardless of how far they travel, a departure from the previous distance-based system.
These positive changes have not gone unnoticed by passengers. In a poll also fielded by CTS/EMBARQ, MetroBus passengers gave the system an average approval rating of 8.2 out of 10, and 6% of passengers reported having switched from using cars since MetroBus was opened.
Perhaps the project’s most important accomplishment is the discussion it has spurred throughout the city about the need to invest in high quality public transport. Newly elected mayor Marcelo Ebrard has promised that his administration will build ten more MetroBus lines during his term.