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Famous for fifteen minutes… at work in 30

1 June 2008

Cleaning woman Gabriela Castro Cervantes had her name in all the national newspapers this morning, being the first paying passenger on the new Tren Suburbano, which runs from Buenavista (near the corner of Insurgentes and Puente d’Alvarado) to Lecheria, on the far north side. Living in Ecatepec (State of Mexico) and working near Pino Suarez Metro Station, Castro’s formerly three-hour commute now takes 30 minutes.

Projected ridership on the new Tren Suburbano line is expected to be about 320,000 passengers per day. Eventually, the line will be expanded to Pachucha, Hidalgo State. Mexicans, like other North Americans, want to live out in the ‘burbs. Ford Motor Company has noted the trend… and is investing three billion U.S. dollars in new production lines. The Cuautitlan plant (outside Mexico City) which has been building F-series pickups for the U.S. market, is being retooled to produce Festivas for the Mexican and Latin American market. Even though Mexican pay much less for gasoline than north of the border (the equivalent of around $2.75 US per gallon), commuting by auto will not be a viable option for most workers. And, with the rising costs of fuel, not to mention Mexico City’s struggle to control pollutants, the challenges are the same as those north of the border… but… having crept up on Mexico later than in the U.S. and Canada… there is a chance to control the change.

This is only one step, but given that Mexicans are driving more, those “sophisticated” northerners might want to take a look at how “backwards” Mexico is ahead of the curve when it comes to meeting the demands of consumers and the needs of urban inhabitants.

(Photo: Notimex)

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