40% of petty crime in Mexico City occurs in public transportation, which is why some companies have started making private-public transportation. Get it?

Some companies exist, but just as an example, lets take Urbvan. Urbvan trucks like this merc have built in wifi, security cameras, air-conditioning and electricity outlets for it’s users. It costs around five dollars round trip from Polanco to Santa fe, a distance of 16 miles. The regular bus costs around 75 cents of a dollar round trip, where a “micro” bus would cost 50cents of a dollar if those were still in service to Santa Fe.

One could argue that paying 667% more than what you would in the regular bus is ridiculous, but clearly, this service was designed for motorists, since it’s even slightly cheaper than taking a car to Santa Fe. The key advantage of the Urbvan that it takes as much as 30 minutes less than the bus to Santa Fe; the time it takes there is closer to that of a car.

Mexico City has a complicated relation with public transportation, and it has to do with wealth, geography, and stupid government ideas. While our Metro system is cheap, fast, and very reliable, outside the areas of reach however, a solution was never found. Mexico City’s government operates fleets of public transportation buses, owned by the RTP. however, for seemingly no reason, private contractors are allowed to run their own bus routes. Since Mexico City is much larger than Mexico City’s government reach, we have to deal with the neighboring state when it comes to public transport, and trust me, they’re idiots.

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Private contractors in Micros and combis fucked the system up but also gave it much needed relief as these operate with less restrictions and into the metropolitan area (the other state). They, however, represent very real danger to passengers and discourage motorists from using public transportation: these are the biggest sources of crime in public transport.

So Urbvan is also privately owned, but the licensing is very complicated and they’ve had issues with police officers and the regular private contractors. Something akin to Uber and New York City cabs.

I don’t think Urbvan will solve the transit issue in Mexico City, but it’s a flaming middle finger to the Status quo that clearly has significant issues. Negotiating with Estado de Mexico is very hard and they made getting rid of private contractors nigh on impossible, as they typically don’t have to deal with any of the issues of urbanization that we have to, but still belong to the Metropolitan area.

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Urbvan and uber, and shared bikes could shape the future urban landscape, but I don’t think these companies should operate privately in the future. It’s a public sector problem and in order to make sure services like Urbvan, rideshare bikes, and uber-style taxis are available to the entire population it has to have a public sector solution.