Versión en Español

Moving around Mexico City is extremely complicated and time consuming – but it doesn’t have to be!

Mexico City has a wide variety of transportation options: public, private, and shared usage, but most residents and visitors don’t understand how to use them together to get from Point A to Point B.

Obviously, knowing how to use something and using it are different things, but arming people with knowledge and a plan is often the first step in changing behaviors. Let’s take a look at some of the most common transportation problems in Mexico City.

Private Vehicles

Driving oneself from place to place seems like the easiest logistical solution to get around town. However, more drivers quickly equates to more congestion and longer commute times. Not to mention the fact that using daily private transportation, such as a personal vehicle, is very expensive. Furthermore, parking spaces are often insufficient and expensive, leading to even more congestion as drivers search for places to park their cars.

Public Transportation (Buses, Microbuses, and Rails)

Public transportation may be a more cost effective option. However, not all public transportation options have defined routes, stops, or schedules. This means that riders are not able to plan their routes, and end up waiting in long lines due to a lack of schedule information. These long lines quickly lead to extreme overcrowding at peak times and a reduction in both safety and comfort.

In general, people who use public transportation often choose to do so because they cannot afford private transportation. However, many public transportation options charge on a per-ride basis (instead of for a daily pass or a complete journey). This makes transferring from one bus or train to another less appealing.

While some public transportation options are city-run (such as the RTP services) other public transportation options (such as microbuses) are frequently used. Microbuses are smaller, van-type vehicles that typically do not have regular schedules or stops, and are generally considered unsafe and accident-prone.

Finally, public transportation offerings may not get you directly to your door, and there are few park-and-ride options to encourage integration between public and private transportation methods.

Shared Transportation

Carsharing or carpooling options – both private and public – are a great idea, but often fall short in practice, as carpooling demands commitment and an agreement that the users will be on time, split the bills, and be flexible. These demands often result in people choosing to use their own vehicles to avoid conflict with others. Additionally, the city government does not offer incentives or create unique routes to motivate people to carpool.

Next Steps

With so many problems to consider, imagining potential solutions may seem daunting; but remember that educating riders about their options could solve many of these problems. How could you use software to provide real-time access to public transportation schedules, routes, and stop locations? How could your app connect carpoolers with other modes of transport or facilitate pickups in easy parking areas?

Check out the Data & Resources page for a list of private and public APIs and transportation data to fuel your app!