By MARK LORENZANA
Transport carriers in Mexico City, led by the Broad Carrier Force or Fuerza Amplia de Transportes (FAT), put up blockades at various points in the metropolis Thursday, June 2, as they demanded an increase to the current minimum fare of 5 pesos.
The transport protest, which began at approximately 7:30 a.m., affected almost 20 main roads in 11 areas of the city: Insurgentes Norte, the intersection of Miramontes and Taxqueña, Avenida Tláhuac and the intersection of Avenida Constituyentes and Prolongación, among others.
The protests caused a major traffic jam on Calzada Ignacio Zaragoza, going west at the intersection of Avenida Guelatao. In Insurgentes Norte, a crane was parked on the street to stop traffic, and at the intersection of Miramontes and Taxqueña, protesters parked their vehicles to block the way, causing major inconveniences to commuters. On Avenida Tláhuac, transport routes collapsed.
The blockades took place in the midst of conflicting statements between the transport groups and the Mexico City government. The transport groups said they demanded a 3-peso increase, to drive up the minimum fare from 5 pesos to 8 pesos, and that this was agreed upon in meetings last April 6 and 22 with Martí Batres, the secretary of government. Batres denied the agreement.
“There has been no agreement with any organization, and there has been no decision by the city government in this regard. For these groups to announce such an agreement with the city government, that is false,” Batres said. “We are open to dialogue, but we are not going to accept anything that harms the economy. For us that is unacceptable,” he added.
In a press conference on Wednesday, June 1, a day before the protests, Batres said that the demand for a 5-peso increase could not be accommodated. The transport groups, however, are adamant that they only asked for a 3-peso increase. They said that the rate has not increased in the past three years, and since the city government has not given them a satisfactory answer, they decided to proceed with the protests.
Batres, in the same press conference on Wednesday, June 1, appealed to the transport groups to suspend the planned blockades. “We are asking them in advance, please do not put up blockades. We do not want any blockades. They affect people who have nothing to do with the protests. They can demonstrate freely, but avenues should not be blocked. It affects people, ordinary citizens, those who go to school, those in emergency situations.”