There are many reasons that a tourist in Cancun might need a taxi while visiting, but a new study shows that Cancun tourists can expect to wait up to 40 minutes. The same study shows that locals wait even longer, often as much as an hour or more. This is purportedly due, in part, to discrimination against locals and national tourists. In either case, the long wait times, and other issues regarding the transportation system, have prompted the Mexican Association of Transport and Mobility to conduct the research to try to resolve the problems.
In the study, it was pointed out that the fast growth in tourism and in the population in Cancun is part of the reason for the issues with the transportation system. The problems are again being noticed because travel has increased since the Covid-19 pandemic started to wind down and Cancun is seeing an influx of visitors.
During the pandemic, there was not as much local traffic either, as people were limited on where they could go and what they could do. Researcher Germán Valencia Cárdenas, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, who participated in the study, stated that “When the Covid-19 pandemic limited people’s mobility, this problem decreased. But now that tourist activity has been reactivated, public transport is once again under pressure, which once again proves to be inefficient in the city.”
While conducting the study researchers found that when traveling from the main tourist area in Cancun to the center of the city, during the busy season travel times could be as long as an hour and a half. According to research, that journey should not take more than about 30 minutes. The reason for the longer than normal travel time has to do with the condition of the roads, which as the study points out, are not up to par for the number of people in Cancun at any given time. It states that an estimated 70 percent of the nearly five miles of roads are prone to traffic jams that significantly slow down the speed of vehicles on the roads. On a normal day, this could mean traveling through the city at around 17 mph, and during busy seasons as slow as 14 mph.
The same study found that on a normal day, for every 52 people in Cancun there is only one bus or taxi. During the busy season, when Cancun sees an influx of as many as 200,000 tourists or more, there is only one bus or taxi for every 62 people. This shows that not only is traffic moving slowly, but there is a lack of enough public transportation vehicles to meet the needs of the local and tourist demand.
While the research tells a lot about the problem with Cancun’s transportation system, the response from visitors when asked what they thought of the regarding the transportation problems was even more telling. Eight out of ten of the tourists that were surveyed pointed out that issues surrounding the transportation system were their primary complaint about the city.
In a city that depends on the tourism industry for its livelihood, it is important to address these issues and concerns. Mr. Cárdenas said as much in his findings when he explained that if population and tourist growth continues at this rate, within five years the transportation issues will begin to cause chaos throughout the city.
Fortunately, the research from the study will be presented to the National Congress on the Environment next year. Maybe then the transportation issues in Cancun can be sufficiently addressed.
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