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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Yucatán approves financing for electric ‘trams’ but questions remain

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal has expressed optimism that his new electric bus program will improve connectivity between Mérida and surrounding municipalities.  Photo: Courtesy

Last month, Yucatan’s Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal announced that the state would be investing in a fleet of tram-like electric buses.

The budget for these electric buses, constructed in the style of European trams, has now been approved to the tune of 735 million pesos — roughly 36.3 million USD.

Though the announcement was met with widespread approval, a faction of PRI representatives argued in Yucatan’s congress that the project ought to be financed from existing funds rather than loans. 

“It is fiscally irresponsible to get the state further into debt at this time, especially with technologies which have yet to be proven in our region,” said PRI congresswoman, Fabiola Loeza Novelo.

There have also been critiques of the new infrastructure project centered on the fact that no plan to power these “environmentally friendly” transport units has been presented. 

Earlier: Mérida will replace its airport with a new one, governor confirms

“Will these funds include the construction of renewably sourced electricity for the units? If they are simply taking power from the grid fed by dirty energy, in what sense are they really green?” asked Rep. Gaspar Quintal.

The fleet is planned to connect Uman, Kanasín, and Mérida’s north with the Centro.

While in the Centro, the vehicles will be programmed to move at slower speeds. 

Three routes totaling 100 kilometers will connect 137 neighborhoods, largely on abandoned train tracks, and will tie into the existing Va y Ven transit network. 

“It will be a bus with the benefits of a streetcar, the flexibility of a bus that can carry up to 105 passengers,” said Gov. Vila Dosal.

This new high-tech fleet is scheduled to begin operating in December 2023 — just as Mexico’s presidential campaign, which Vila Dosal is rumored to be running in, is likely to kick off in earnest. 

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