Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Transit in Mexico City Beats Most U.S. Cities

See this map? This is Mexico City's subway system. Each one of these lines, except the two on the far left, represents a grade-separated train with frequent service that costs the U.S. equivalent of $.30 for a one-way ride (this includes unlimited train transfers).

I've ridden these trains. They beat the pants off of everything in LA except the Red Line, but they go over a much wider part of the city.

How is this possible in a country with a much smaller economy than the U.S.? In the year 2000 Mexicans owned 189 vehicles per 1,000 people and people in the U.S. owned 771 vehicles per 1,000 people, the highest rate in the world (The High Cost of Free Parking, p. 679). When few people own vehicles, there are more people to support the transit system.

Want to know the craziest thing? They started building this in the late 1960s!


  1. It’s sad to think that that in the early 60s, the Alweg Monorail Company proposed a monorail system for Los Angeles…
    …and they were going to build it for FREE, just for the fare-box cash for 30 years.
    It was squashed immediately by LA politicians. God Bless Standard Oil Co.
    Although I’m not a fan of monorail as a viable mass-transit mode, its pathetic this it wasn’t built nonetheless.

  2. Isn't it interesting that a third world city in a third world country puts L.A.'s mass transit system to shame? Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, cities which I've personally visited, put L.A.'s mass transit system to shame too. If you would really like to be astonished I recommend researching the BP Statistical Review of World Energy where you can learn that the vast majority of the rest of the industrialized world, countries such as Germany for instance which has a GDP of about 4 trilliion, has per capita oil consumption rates which are 40-60% lower than that of the U.S.'s.

    You can be even more astonished if you research the MTA's budget to find that 9% of the total budget(last time I checked) comes from the federal gov't.

    But the astonishment can even continue when you examine the very same crass appeal to ignorance and prejudice that Barack Obama and John McCain made in their presidential debates. Although it seems like B.O was out in front of McCain on this particular matter and McCain was just trying to keep up. B.O. was shameless enough to have it be part of his actual published energy plan.

    The MTA's official newsletter which is front and center on their official website linked to your blog. As I recall, they used the word astonished, astonishing.

    I'm not astonished anymore. Like Mr. Castro says, everything passes including empires.