The Commute Home

Mexico City has an unfortunate and well-deserved reputation for automobile traffic.  My normal commute home is a well-planned route designed to avoid the worst of the traffic; I take a bus from ITAM, which braves city streets and the freeway (and traffic) for about a mile to metro Barranca del Muerto, from which I take the train four stops against rush hour traffic to Tacubaya, and then walk about 20 minutes to my house.  There’s a closer metro station (Patriotísmo), but I like the walk, which is down José Martí… I posted a few pictures of it last week.

The real problem with traffic in México, D.F., is that it can make travel times very uncertain — one never knows where and when to expect traffic.  While my commute avoids the worst spots, it still has it’s own potential for delay.  For example, the route the bus will take to the metro station varies from day to day, as the driver tries to figure out how to avoid the worst of the roving traffic jams.  Once we’re at the metro, it’s not uncommon for the train to be a few minutes late… which, in a system that pushes 4 million passengers a day, is a big deal.  Even though Barranca del Muerto is the first station on the line and even though it’s reverse-commute, I sometimes need to wait for a few trains to pass before I can find one with room to board.  (On the way to ITAM, I need to make sure to arrive early so as to get to the bus on time!)  Of course, I also pass a whole slew of cantinas on the walk home.  I haven’t yet taken a detour to grab a mid-commute cerveza, but I’m sure it will happen!  

And, then, of course, sometimes we get stuck in traffic in front of ITAM.  The front entrance to ITAM, which is where I catch my bus, is an intersection with four roads that come together.  The Instituto employs several security guards that often stop traffic so that the buses can come and go on their hourly schedule.  One evening last week, all fours roads were full of cars coming in… but no one was going out.  As you can see from the hastily shot photo (through the bus window), it was a real fracaso.  Two cops were trying to untangle a knot of cars to let the buses out.  The cops eventually had to run two blocks down to stop more cars from coming it.  One intersection, twelve cars (as shown, but in truth many more), two cops, and two buses… needless to say, it took me longer than usual to get home. were coming in, but no one was going out! were coming in, but no one was going out!



San Francisco, CA


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