A Project That's Changed the City
Estimated reductions in key pollutants that Metrobus removes from the air each year:
of nitrogen oxide, a compound that causes smog, acid rain, global warming, and a variety of health complications like emphysema and bronchitis.
of fine particulate matter, known to cause asthma, chronic bronchitis, and lung disease.
of hydrocarbons, which are associated with smog, cancer, and other health problems.
In 2002, EMBARQ founded CTS-México—a Mexican nongovernmental organization staffed with transport engineers, urban planners, and policy experts—and partnered with the Mexico City government to develop a bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor on a high-profile avenue running through the heart of the Mexican capital. Three years later, EMBARQ, CTS-México, and the mayor of Mexico City looked on as their vision became a reality—eager passengers boarding shiny new buses on the city’s first BRT line. Metrobus now serves 315,000 passengers per day, nearly half the number of passengers who ride Washington, DC’s entire Metro system, the second-largest urban rail network in the United States. In addition, the Spanish Carbon Fund, an initiative to pay for projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, has awarded Mexico City $307,000 for the carbon dioxide emissions that Metrobús reduces.
A year after its launch, Metrobús had received such high ratings from the public that Marcelo Ebrard, the mayor of Mexico City, campaigned on a platform of expanding Metrobús from a one-line operation to a citywide network of 10 lines. Once elected, he has worked to keep his campaign promise; already he has opened Insurgentes Sur, a 9.5-kilometer, handicapped-accessible extension of Metrobús, and has begun planning and constructing the other lines.
kilometers in length
passengers per day
tons of CO2 emissions reduced per year
Source: CTS-México, 2009
Scaling Up Solutions
The Eje 4 Xola line launched in December 2008. Photo by CTS-México.
Mexico City's Metrobús system launched its second bus rapid transit corridor, "Eje 4 Xola," in December 2008. The 20-kilometer route signifies an important milestone for CTS-México and the Mexico City Government, which have been working together since 2002 to develop one of the world’s largest sustainable mass transit systems.
The new 36-station line serves nearly 120,000 passengers per day. Traveling by trolleybus along the original length of the corridor used to take up to two hours; riding Metrobús along the same route now takes about 55 minutes. With planning and implementation guidance from EMBARQ and CTS-México, the 50-kilometer Metrobús network has made it easier for people to move around. Along Insurgentes—the longest avenue in the city—Metrobús has improved mobility by 50 percent, reduced accidents by 30 percent, and encouraged an estimated 6% shift from private vehicles to public transport.
Comfort and Safety
Two friends take Metrobus back from the nursery
Luisa lives in the sprawling outskirts of Mexico City, studies English downtown, and has a design workshop in Coyoacan, a quaint neighborhood in the southern part of the city. To get around the city, Luisa used to drive her car, often getting snared in traffic on Avenida Insurgentes for up to an hour and a half. Although she could have taken the microbuses—the informal mass transit providers that once plied Insurgentes—she chose not to; they were uncomfortable and she didn’t feel safe.
Now she takes Metrobús when traveling on Insurgentes, and the
whole trip takes just a half hour. “It’s nothing like driving, especially at rush hour when everyone is leaving the office and suddenly it starts raining, then there’s an accident, and traffic stops for a long time,” she remarked. “Metrobús really is very comfortable and safe. I love it!”