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Women using EcoBici, Mexico City's bike sharing program – Mexico

Mexico City’s bicycle-sharing program is growing and being copied. The project “Women using EcoBici, Mexico City's bike sharing program” reduces traffic congestion and air pollution while providing flexible transportation to the city’s women.

Fast facts:

  • Increased women’s use of bicycles in Mexico City from 10 to 38 per cent
  • More than 15 million journeys total
  • More than 120,000 registered users
  • More than 150 tons of carbon dioxide emissions reduced annually

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The problem

With more than 21 million inhabitants, Mexico City is among the most-populated cities in the world. The majority of citizens there use motorized transportation, which is the main source of air pollution, including greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide that contribute to climate change.

Women have less access to quick and reliable transportation, and tend to have multiple purposes on their trips since they often balance work, home, and childcare roles. Women thus need flexible transport to take them to their varied destinations.

The solution

The government of Mexico City established EcoBici in 2010 to make bicycles available to individuals for shared use on a short-term basis. Users register and pay a scaled fee to be able to check out a bicycle from one station, which they can ride and drop off at any other station.

EcoBici is the first system of its kind in Latin America, and includes a feature to incentivize the use of bicycles through points gained when users take trips. These points can be exchanged for rewards like movie tickets, music gift cards, or books.

Helping the planet

Switching from motorized travel to bicycles reduces pollution, including carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to climate change. Bicycle riding also decreases demand for fossil fuels, preventing environmental destruction related to their extraction.

Helping people

Women of Mexico City have gained a cheap, efficient, and flexible mode of transport. People who ride bicycles are able to more easily stay fit, while everyone benefits from reducing traffic and pollution, including from the noise of motors.

Spillover effect

The project has increased in scale since it started, and is projected to reach carbon reductions of 340 tons by the year 2020. That the project is financed by a combination of government, private investors, and users makes it replicable in a number of contexts. In fact, a public bicycle system has been implemented in Mexico’s second-largest city of Guadalajara, while two other Mexican cities are in the process of establishing similar programs.

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