Mérida, Yucatán — Apps aren’t just for car rides anymore.
Four mobile applications, all available in the App or Google Play stores, help Meridanos research routes and share opinions.
They are: Moovit, GoBus, Vinden and BusCun.
Moovit is the market leader, used by more than 60 million people in 75 countries and in 1,400 cities. It updates with new locations every 18 hours.
But then there’s GoBus Rutas Mérida, which is easy to use and was created specially for the city. User ratings and comments are there for the opinionated rider.
The Vinden app is also local, developed by the Yucatecan companies Embsoft Ingeniería, Dacodes and Éncor, with the objective of improving the service for users, and assisting the government in its study of urban mobility.
Finally, there is BusCun, an app more for visitors than for locals. It is mainly concerned with tourist destinations.
The city’s bus system itself has been slow to keep up with the times, despite a program launched several years ago that delivered big promises with much fanfare.
Admitting that public transportation here leaves a lot to be desired, Mayor Mauricio Vila Dosal asked the state to implement the Comprehensive Urban Transportation System (Situr) as soon as possible.
Situr involves modern buses, dedicated lanes and high-tech “intelligent” traffic lights, with new routes that address current needs. Its final stages, which were announced at the end of 2014 with no timeline, were to launch a digital information system with real-time information for riders.
Situr was endorsed by the mayor in May 2016, signing a bipartisan agreement with Gov. Rolando Zapata Bello.
“We decided to support Situr because we were taking into account our campaign promises and it did not make sense to have two different transport systems,” Vila Dosal said.
But the project’s implementation “has been a little slow” Vila Dosal complained in newspaper reports.
He said that his administration decided to support Situr “in good faith” and that the state authority is responsible for developing the public transport project.
City residents who depend on buses to get to their jobs or schools face a daily ordeal with the current system.
La Jornada Maya writes about the many early risers who form rows of up to 40 people in the streets of the Centro.
On Calle 65, in front of the Eulogio Rosado Park, are the Premier Alemán – Pinos, Brisas 1, Alemán Ruta 1 y Alemán Ruta 2 routes. By 6:40 a.m., rows of about 20 people are formed.
The Alemán route stands out. Approximately 60 men and women show signs of impatience as they adjust their hearing aids, check the cell phone or nervously watch the clock. At 6:51, a bus leaves full, reminiscent of the movie shot in India, says reporter Lilia Balam.
At 6:58, another bus fills in less than a minute, but waits in place until 7:04, in case any rider would like to be part of the homogeneous mass that occupies the seats, corridor and steps of the bus. Balam compares the scene to a game of Tetrus.
The reporter interviewed two students who agree that the bus service is inefficient, slow and unsafe — yet expensive. Both students spend between an hour and a half to two to get from their homes to their schools. At another stop, Balam found three out of four passengers felt more buses were needed. Here, she found 50 people in line for a bus; the queue wrapped around the corner.
In the minority was Silvia Chin, a hair stylist, who opined that the service is good for the price. She comes in daily from Motul, a trip that takes two hours and costs 20 pesos each way.
Bus managers responded that it is normal for riders to complain.
Juan de Dios Cauich, coordinator of Ruta de Modernos and Ruta 52 Norte, said that he and the drivers try to explain how difficult it is to run an efficient bus system.
“Some understand it, some do not, but that’s the way it is,” he said.
Sources: Punto Medio, Desde el Balcón, La Jornada Maya