Since then bus travel times have been cut in half, with significant reductions in congestion, noise, and air pollution. Passenger exposure to carbon monoxide, benzene, and particulate matter (soot) has dropped by 50 percent compared to exposure on the older buses, many of which are still in use on other routes.
Metrobus uses 97 new, diesel-powered articulated buses to move 263,000 people daily at an average speed of 19 kilometers per hour along the famed Avenida Insurgentes. The new buses have replaced hundreds of smaller buses and alleviated the legendary traffic jams that afflicted Mexico City’s longest avenue.
Based on figures from the non-profit Mexican National Institute of Ecology, increased productivity due to time saved with the new system could approach $15 million per year.
Mexico City mayor Alejandro Encinas and Metrobus director Guillermo Calderon will preside over a ceremony to celebrate the 100 millionth passenger today in Mexico City.
In 2002 EMBARQ, The World Resources Institute’s Center for Sustainable Transport initiated a partnership with the Government of Mexico City and the Centro de Transporte Sustentable de Mexico (CTS-Mexico) to develop the 20-kilometer bus rapid transit system.
As cities around the world struggle with exploding populations of people and cars, Mexico City is demonstrating that Bus Rapid Transit can be a viable solution, even in politically charged and environmentally challenged cities. EMBARQ works by engaging the agencies that control city transport along with the city’s bus owners and operators. This unique approach was key in easing the transition for more than one hundred individual bus owners and concession holders who are now part owners of the new system.
“The successful creation and successful operation of Metrobus is improving people’s lives today, and providing a model for other cities to follow. Residents of Mexico City and the whole world can breathe more easily because of the 47,000 tons of CO2 that will not be put into the air,” said Nancy Kete, EMBARQ’s director. “Nobody thinks of time stuck in traffic as time well spent,” she added.
The EMBARQ model of cooperation is now being applied in Chihuahua, and the State of Mexico. Even cities outside of Mexico, including Pune, India; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Istanbul, Turkey are looking to emulate Mexico City’s success and are working with EMBARQ to create sustainable transport solutions for their cities.