Sic Transit Mexico

Thursday, June 20, 2013
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This letter is in response to last week’s editorial by Nick Welsh regarding the impending woes of the local MTD bus system. I’d suggest we need a little more free enterprise to deal with the current public transportation needs. Several years ago, I lived and worked in Guadalajara, Mexico – a heavily populated and beautiful city famous for its Mariachi bands and brands of tequila. I was a gringo visitor working as a teacher and studying Spanish. The traffic there looked scary, but the bus system was great.

I think it cost about 20 cents to go anywhere in town and there were buses running literally all the time. It appeared to me that pretty much anyone who had a bus could go into business. They just painted the number 7 or 16 or whatever route they preferred on the windshield, and hit the road. There was no schedule, but there were hundreds of buses. I would walk to the corner and within a minute or two, I’d see the bus I wanted coming along. There was not just one number 6 (the one I usually needed) but dozens. Sometimes the drivers would race each other to the curb to get my business.

Sure, some of the buses were old, smoggy, and loud, but who cares – you got where you needed to go without any excuses. Furthermore, when you climbed up the stairs the driver had a big table of coins and he would give you change! Sometimes I’d have to enter the back door of the bus on busy days, and pass my fare along up to the driver from person to person saying “Pasa uno, por favor.” A few minutes later my change and ticket would come back through the crowd to me.

Okay, so you say: What about insurance, safety, and pensions? Well, the only one I cared about was safety – and I felt plenty safe on one of those behemoth vehicles, compared to the other runts on the road.

That’s what I call good old gumption, and honesty – the kind this nation itself was built on. I don’t want to hear about government solutions; this is an easy enough problem to fix ourselves.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Any other civilized city you visit has a much better functioning transit system. often 24/7.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
June 20, 2013 at 11:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I care about pollution over business and a person getting where they need to go. Use a bike. Smog is not healthy for us or our planet. Imagine the trasnportation system (and all the other things we could have) our tax money could buy if not for bloated defense, tax cuts, and wars. Hell, keep the tax cuts and we'd still have it.

spacey (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 11:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Riding on a bus with goats and chickens may not be good for your health...Mexico City is not civilized KV; it's a hell hole of crime and crap and the 6 months I spent there were dreadful.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 12:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What? Smog's not good for you? Well, neither is GMO corn and soy. Nor is about 98% of the pharmaceutical crap MDs push on us every day. Personally, I admire the sort of spirit it would take to just drive a bus willy-nilly looking for passengers - imagine, bus lines with no posted schedule - it'd give a whole new meaning to 'chaos theory'!

spiritwalker (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 12:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If I want chaos I can visit Napoli or Roma albeit the property crime in Napoli is pretty awful if you don't know your way around...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2013 at 5:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The larger point is the same with all other California institutions with government unions > services will be reduced to pay for current and retired workers salaries, benefits and defined benefit pensions.

Keep voting lib-dem and watch services shrink to pay for all these government union costs - but you'll feel good about yourself because you "did the right thing" for the little guy.

willy88 (anonymous profile)
June 23, 2013 at 8:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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