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The future is public transport in Mexico

news 02 Oct 2019

#OurPublicTransport was the theme when 25 participants from five public transport unions from Mexico City and Guadalajara, Mexico got together. 

The activists met in Mexico City on 26 September and were from unions representing workers from trains, trolleybuses, buses, mototaxis and bicitaxis.

They attended sessions from academics in public transport and from Greenpeace’s ‘Coalition Cero’ initiative, which the Alianza de Tranviarios de Mexico (ATM) has been involved with. 

The unions shared information about their situations and discussed options for working together in the future to increase the visibility and influence of transport workers.

The unions have also demanded their involvement in the development of public transport in Mexico City that is sustainable, safe, improves mobility, reduces air pollution and helps to cut climate changing emissions by reducing the need for cars.

Furthermore, many of the transport options use 100 percent electric vehicles, including some of the mototaxis and all the trolleybuses. 

The unions also discussed:

  • their experiences of organising women workers and promoting women’s employment in public transport as the small number of women transport workers continues to grow
  • access to toilets, which is still an issue for all public transport workers, in particular women. Some unions had negotiated improved access for women train drivers
  • ending violence against women transport workers and passengers
  • options for first / last mile connectivity from metro, train or bus stops, and the need for regulation of the informal transport system

Public transport investment and infrastructure has been neglected by governments over the past decades.  Historically Mexico City had a well-developed public transport system, with union recognition, but the lack of investment over the years now means that informal transport has taken over and accounts for almost 60 percent of transport journeys. 

However, there will be new investment in public transport in the city, with the host union ATM Mexico sharing the success of their ‘save the trolleybus’ campaign and the mayor of the city announcing that 63 new trolleybuses will be purchased by the end of the year and a commitment to the continuation of the trolleybus.

ATM activists also stated their support for the organising and development of the smaller public transport unions. The unions agreed to work together to strengthen the voice of public transport workers in Mexico. 

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