Mexico City Goes Green, But Will Its Bike-Sharing Program Work?


In an effort to modernize their brands and attract tourism dollars, many cities are adopting “green” campaigns aimed at reducing pollution, promoting health, and demonstrating concern for the environment.

Mexico City recently launched an official public bike-sharing program, which will initially include 85 stations and over 1,000 bikes. Participation costs 300 pesos ($23) a year, and bikes can be taken for 30 minutes a ride. After only a few days, over 1,000 people have already signed up.

The program is similar to those that have successfully launched in Washington D.C. and Barcelona. The first city to try anything of the sort was Portland, Oregon, which provided hundreds of used bikes to its inhabitants, which were scattered all over the downtown area. Riders could simply use the bikes when they wanted, then leave them for others to use. A similar attempt was made in New York City, but within a few days all the bikes were stolen.[more]

Whether or not this will happen in Mexico City, which is notorious for its high crime rate and significant poverty, is yet to be determined. But consider Paris’ official bike-sharing program, a city that is generally much freer of crime. While the program is considered a success – daily use averages between 50,000 to 150,000 trips, and the bicycles are especially popular with tourists – many of the bikes have been stolen or destroyed.

Some have been spotted in Eastern Europe and North Africa, others dumped in the Seine, hanging from lampposts and abandoned on the roadside with bent wheels, flat tires and missing baskets. In fact, 80 percent of the original 20,600 bicycles have been damaged or stolen.

Mexico City is often cited as the most polluted city on earth, so its heart is definitely in the right place. Let’s just hope its bikes don’t end up in the Gulf of Mexico.