Traffic is the bane of almost every citizen’s life in Mexico City. The roads are a heaving mass of cars and trucks, often at a standstill. The video gives a brief snapshot of the story. In fact perhaps you ought to watch that first then return to my little commentary. I can identify a few problems that aren’t mentioned in the video.
Firstly, home ownership. Perhaps not the most obvious cause of traffic, but I’d wager it contributes. Home ownership is popular in Mexico, and it has its pros and cons. Amongst the cons are an increase in property prices, and the inability of young people to get onto the property ladder. Or at least a disincentive to do so.
This produces a mobility impaired workforce, who end up making very lengthy journeys to work, adding to the congestion. It has to be said that Mexicans unwillingness to move far from their families also contributes to this. In some European cities where rental is more common and rules applying to rentals less restrictive, you do tend to find a more mobile workforce, lower property prices, less commuting by total distances and less congestion.
Secondly, and where my normally liberal sensibilities go out of the window and I turn into a rabid right winger, is the issue of obeyance of the rules of the road. People will just park in the middle of the road because it is convenient to them, and sod everyone else. Whether to chat to someone they know, or disgorge their passengers of to pop to a shop. The city does actually have some fairly strict road laws and punishments, but they are enforced a little patchily. To say the least.
No license? No insurance? Take away their cars and lock ’em up! Even if only for a day or two. Parked illegally? Take away their cars. No exceptions. Police corruption? Send out a brigade of well trained, well vetted and well paid anti-corruption officers onto the streets on the city in illegal old bangers parked improperly. Any police officer taking a bribe can spend a little time in prison before seeking a new career. And bring on the ANPR cameras! Driving is a privilege not a right.
How would one pay for all of this? Oh, easy. Legalise drugs. The money saved in the war against the stuff and the tax revenue earned through the new products will help no end. Oh, and fine microbus drivers who stop wherever and whenever they want to pick up and drop off passengers, which slows down traffic considerably. It’s not unusual to see a bus stopping every ten metres down some stretches of road. Of course, the city government would need to build official bus stops first…