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Mexico city metro assessment

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Francis Kuhn
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Francis Kuhn
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A partir de 1967, a Cidade do México adotou um sistema ferroviàrio urbano moderno que atenderia de imediato duzentos quilômetros. Falou-se desta medida como uma proeza técnica. Pensou-se por um longo tempo que as màs condições do subsolo da bacia lacustre do México dificultariam a construção de um metrô. Os abalos sismicos de 1985 não afetaram a estrutura subterrânea flutuante que foi concebida para afrontar estes problemas (Navarro, 1994). Mas, considerou-se também proeza, do ponto de vista econômico: nenhum outro pais construiria em um quarto de século um sistema de tal porte, jà que é o quinto metrô do mundo em extensão (foi preciso mais de um século para que Paris fizesse seus duzentos quilômetros de metropolitanos). Esta realização corresponde aos esforços assumidos pela nação mexicana no seu conjunto, pelo status de Distrito Federal e pelo tamanho de aglomeração da Cidade do México (estimada em 6,3 milhões de habitantes em 1965, sobre uma àrea de 372 km2 ; e de 15,6 milhões e 1250 km2 em 1990). É também obra de um eficaz grupo de engenheiros civis mexicanos: o consòrcio ICA – Ingeneros Consultores Asociados – principal contratante de obras pùblicas mexicanas e presente também nos Estados Unidos; além de vàrias empresas de equipamentos diretamente ou indiretamente associadas. Esse metrô é, por fim, o resultado de um vasto projeto de cooperação internacional, associando eletromecânica, sinalização e material rodante de algumas empresas francesas (Sofretu, Alsthom e Banco Nacional de Paris) e, ainda, de uma imponente ajuda governamental ao desenvolvimento.
En un cuarto de siglo, el metro de México ha alcanzado el quinto lugar mundial en términos de extensión de la red, y el cuarto en términos de afluencia (60 000 pasajeros por dirección en hora pico en más del 60% de la red). Para las finanzas locales, este costo fue elevado: la construcción del metro de la ciudad de México contribuyó fuertemente en la crisis de endeudamiento y en la quiebra del presupuesto del Distrito Federal durante los años ochenta. Sin embargo, el balance entre inversión más costos financieros, y sus ventajas económicas y sociales, sigue siendo positivo. En la actualidad, el resultado de esta implantación radica en una red de diez líneas, piloteada desde tres estaciones de control. En el Distrito Federal, el 70% de red es subterránea (algunas veces hasta 30 metros de profundidad) y cerca del 5% está en elevación. Una de sus lineas, que conduce a los suburbios densamente poblados del Estado de México, circula a la superficie y cuenta con trenes de rodamiento metálico. Mientras que la primera línea se inauguró en 1969 (y las tres más importantes hasta 1976), para 1993 (con la línea 8 todavía en construcción) 274 trenes de seis o nueve carros transportaban ya a 1 421 557 965 pasajeros (4 406 291 pasajeros al día) entre las 135 estaciones, con un costo de operación subsidiado por mitad de 0.30 US$ por pasajero. La demanda se sigue concentrando en las líneas 1 a 3 (70%), mientras que las nuevas líneas, como la 9, tienden a atenuar la saturación de estas. El servicio corresponde por 2/3 a viajes dentro del Distrito Federal, pero cuatro estaciones importantes de distribución reciben una gran demanda del exterior - Pantitlán, con 4 líneas, da servicio a 352 718 pasajeros por día, separados por sexo en las horas pico y con colas de hasta 20 minutos para tomar el tren. Por otra parte, hace doce años los autobuses (llamados camiones en Méxio) del Distrito Federal se vieron concentrados en la compañía pública Ruta-100, que no fue capaz de administrar 7 000 vehículos: en 1992, con 3 500 vehículos, transportaba a menos de 3 millones de pasajeros al día - mientras que 3.5 millones de pasajeros eran transportados por autobuses privados del Estado de México. Mientras tanto, los trolebuses dan servicio a tan sólo 300 000 pasajeros, y el tren ligero a cerca de 30 000 en 1993.
Between 1967 and 1970 a first set of three lines representing 42 kilometers was built, the most part of which was underground and served the city on a so called ring layout. The process was based on relationships established between Ste, Ica and the firms associated with RATP. Right from the start, those lines have been very crowded and by the end of that step, they represented about 12 % of the total transport market shares in the City. This demonstrated the appropriateness of the layout as well as the extent of the delays accumulated in public transit. At that period, all of the equipment and rolling stock were imported (nine hundred cars) with a top option of pneumatic rolling, which then proved somehow limited from the capacity viewpoint (Coindet, 1989). The Mexican share was limited at 65 % of the work essentially representing civil engineering and some basic equipments. During a second step which can be qualified as "substitutive step" transport investments concerned road infrastructures (ring road and 20 major crossing highways). During that period the construction of the metro remained at a standstill because the industrial and technological dependancy as regards rolling stock purchasing was not so well accepted knowing that the rolling stock had to be increased considerably. From 1977 to 1985, the three existing lines were extended and four other ones were opened, running towards the East, West and North. A total of 73 km were built with large surface or overhead sections and equipped with about 1000 vehicles, half of which were produced under licence by local firms. The Federal District Department was dealing with a powerful delegate contracting authority, called Covitur, who had direct relations with Banobrass the National Bank for Development and who was linked with the main foreign providers, most of whom were French, according to sustainable institutional enacting terms. The third step, "a more critical one", led to reconsider planification despite the renewal of French subsidies, and to adjust the construction pace of the metro to the real capacities of the country. Moreover the aim of a so called "mexicanization policy" was to reinforce the local appropriation of the rolling equipments technology ; during that period, the proportion of national integration was 85 %. If during the previous step the lines were not as crowded as the three initial ones, they were to be extended until the limits of the Federal District and line 9 was to absorb the overflow on the central network ; twenty-six kilometers were put in service with more than 400 cars, produced by Concarril, the national manufacturer, who however had to face so many difficulties that it was necessary to import trains from Canada (later this State Company was sold to Bombardier company). Then, an "alternative" step occurred. In the middle of the eighties, the Mexican debt crisis made the relationships deteriorate between the Federal State and Mexico agglomeration. As a result, the fourth step was characterized by the introduction of significant variations in the system. Attempts were made to develop lighter alternative solutions and to rehabilitate the existing acquisitions, to extend the network towards the outskirts and move towards metallic rolling and electric supply by catenaries. If line 9 was achieved in conformity with the initial plans and contracts with the French suppliers, two alternative achievements were undertaken and called "light railway" : line A called Iron Metro and the Ste renewed tramway called light train. During that period, a total of fifty kilometers of metro and tramway lines were built or renewed, with a dotation of hardly 300 cars. If light metros cars were produced locally, pneumatic trains were imported from Spain.