Electric transport: Mexico must advance in the electrification of transport

The debate beyond the airports that the Mexican republic needs should focus on the electric transport system at the national level.

Electric transport: Mexico must advance in the electrification of transport
Mexico must progress in the electric transport. Photo: Pxfuel

The debate beyond the airports that the Mexican republic needs should focus on the electric transport system at the national level, said José María Valenzuela, former coordinator of energy policy at WWF Mexico, a doctoral candidate at Oxford.

"Although the decarbonization of transport is a point that is not yet discussed in Mexico, as if it has been done in Europe, with actions that promote the use of trains between cities to reduce the use of airplanes, we should start, at least in more cities, as the Mexico City government is doing by increasing electric trams, he added; "There is no technical reason why the Metrobus lines should not be electrified".

"Mexico, the United States, and Canada are lagging in this global initiative, they are about to become the only region in the world that does not have a system of fast passenger trains at the national level (...) the current discussion in Mexico should go in the direction of reducing the demand for flights".

In an interview with Siete24, from Oxford, the former director of WWF Mexico agrees with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in asserting that previous governments were not concerned with achieving energy self-sufficiency, although AMLO only referred to Natural Gas, Valenzuela explained that "it was a mistake to have invested in such pipelines and to make the CFE a company dependent on Gas, instead of making it a company for the various renewable energies.

"Now the only thing the Federal Electricity Commission knows how to do is to invest in natural gas, they anchored the CFE to consume that Gas through the pipelines that they force to buy and consume. So the challenge in the medium term is to leave that addiction to natural gas and replace it with renewable energy.

Since it has been proven that energies such as wind and solar, now if they are very competitive, "progress has been so many that it is already very competitive to invest in these new energies and Mexico, like most countries, have enormous resource potential to start making the transition to clean energy," he said.

Although in the last report of German Watch: Mexico ranked 32, by the sum of the indexes on performance on climate change -study for which he contributed, Jose Maria Valenzuela for the case of Mexico- was not so poor, compared to 61 countries, "our country could set more ambitious goals, beyond what the current government is starting to do.

José María Valenzuela concluded that "we should have policies that do not depend on the price of oil," commenting that discussions and arguments regarding energy policies have been set incorrectly in all administrations.

Mexico City electric transport in abandonment

Dozens of units of the Metro, Light Rail, and Trolleybus stopped circulating in recent years due to lack of budget and willingness to repair them The abandonment, lack of maintenance, and scarce resources have left the electric transport of Mexico City in the terminal stage. To this is added the budget and spare parts that caused the departure of several units and that congested what is the backbone of public transport in the capital of the country.

The situation is alarming. In two years stopped the services of 40 trains of the Collective Transport System (STC) Metro, 50 units of Trolleybus, and 10 of Light Rail, according to documents obtained by Publimetro via the Transparency Law. In an interview, Guillermo Calderón, general director of the Electrical Transport Service (STE), said that he found an abandonment in terms of maintenance of the train and the track so that a unit rehabilitation program is already being applied and he is preparing for the purchase of more vehicles.

"Of the 290 trolley buses that represent the system park, only 140 were operating. In 44 days of having started operations, we have incorporated 150 trolleybuses simply by providing maintenance. The intention is to review all, because there are buses that are over 40 years old, so they will be discharged, but those that can be redeemed will be incorporated into service, "said the official.

He revealed that 300 million pesos will be invested to acquire 10 trolleybuses, so in the coming weeks they will issue an international public invitation to make the corresponding contracts, an aspect that, according to Guillermo Calderón, has not been done for 20 years. The STE, which has a trolleybus and Light Rail service network, will receive a historical budget, since, compared to the previous year, it will receive 600 million pesos more in this new administration.

In addition to the 300 that will be allocated to the Trolleybus, 100 million will be used to rehabilitate Light Rail units and 200 million for the restoration of the road in the Taxqueña-Estadio Azteca section. From 2014 to 2018 a total of 40 Metro trains stopped providing service and to date, they have not joined the fleet; The main reason, according to the dependence, is the lack of spare parts.

"Normally, what the Metro does is take pieces from the units that are out of circulation and then put them on other trains to repair them. Approximately five or 10 years go by for a Metro convoy to come out completely; This is largely due to the high operation, wear and lack of economic resources, "said the coordinator of Mobility and Climate Change for Consumer Power, Víctor Alvarado.

Even its current owner, Florencia Serranía, indicated that it detected no maintenance in the trains, therefore, they will implement a program to rehabilitate 35 trains this year, of which 20 will be ready in the short term. "In the last administrations there was no will to move forward the electric transport system, and this is a problem that worsened in the last year in the capital," said Carlos Samayoa, coordinator of Sustainable Mobility in Greenpeace. He said that one of the big problems was the budget decrease, which caused a constant deterioration.