The new bus route known as the “va y ven,” which translates to “come and go,” began operation on Saturday along the entirety of Mérida’s Periferico circuit.
Va y ven has been hailed as a game-changer because it will shorten distances and times for commuters along the Periférico circuit.
Previously, if one wanted to travel from one point on the Periférico to another, at least two buses would be needed.
“Commuters using public transit have the right to expect safety and quality. It will no longer be necessary to connect bus routes by taking the bus downtown, said Yucatán Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal
The new bus route will be free of cost for the remainder of the year. But how much exactly tickets will cost starting in 2022 has not been announced.
Buses along the new route will run every 15-20 minutes and will also be trackable using a new smartphone application — a first for Mérida’s public transit.
The new buses are equipped with bicycle holsters and extendable ramps for commuters who find boarding the units difficult.
Bus fare in Mérida currently stands at 7.5 pesos, or just over 41 cents USD. Though this amount may sound small to some, it’s important to remember that the minimum wage in Mexico stands at 141 pesos.
The real cost of urban bus travel in Mérida is also increased by the fact that transfers are non-existent, so a new ticket must be purchased every time a commuter boards a unit.
Public transit in Mérida is run through a concession system that awards private companies control of certain routes.
The age of many of these buses, along with their cost and polluting diesel engines, has long been a contentious issue in the city.