Photo credit: Vivir Mexico
Mexico City's minister of the environment, Martha Delgado, announced Friday that in August a pilot project requiring students to take school buses instead of private vehicles to school at 10 private schools would commence. The initiative was spurred by the success of a study carried out at the Colegio Oxford private school, which managed to get many of its 751 students to ride the school bus beginning in August 2008, El Universal (Spanish link) reported. As we've noted in the past, car use has doubled in Mexico City in the last seven years, complicating other efforts to cut pollution, so any initiative getting more cars off the road is a welcome change.
According to Víctor Hugo Páramo, director of air quality management for the ministry, the average velocity of cars circulating in the school zone increased from 16.8 to 25.7 kilometers an hour after the program began. The study also revealed reductions of 13% in the concentration of carbon monoxide and 8% in nitrous oxides around Colegio Oxford. Some 1,240 students who currently ride in cars will begin taking the bus in the new city-sponsored scheme. The city estimates that 60 percent of the students in primary and secondary private schools travel to school by car.
But according to a report by The News, an English daily in Mexico City, a parents' group opposes the new measure on the grounds that the schools may charge parents for the service and that the buses not have properly trained drivers. Approximately 100 concerned parents and dissenting schools filed court injunctions against the project, according to the National Family Parents' Union. Though the city will supply the buses, schools may have to cover the cost of the drivers and their training. : Via The News
More on Mexico City:
Mexico City to Build 186 Miles of Bike Paths by 2012
Mexico City Mayor Commits To More BRT Lines
Car Use Doubles in Mexico City in Last 7 Years
Bike Sharing Program Launched in Mexico City