Mexico City Rail Tragedy—It Didn’t Have to Happen

On May 3, tragedy struck in Mexico—a metro line collapsed, killing 26 people and injuring at least 70. The collapse happened in one of the most recently constructed elevated sections of the subway line, which had been in operation since 2012. This section was known to make the metro shake and screech around sharp turns. Its construction had used material and design different from that of the rest of the lines. After a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in 2017, the damage to the structure had been enough to warrant that the line be closed immediately, but the authorities opted to put a few band-aids on it instead and keep the line running

This metro line, which had an overall cost of around $1.3 billion to be built, was supervised by the brother of the top executive of the private company that built it.

The metro is still the main form of transportation for people in Mexico City going to and from their jobs, on daily errands, and more. The neglect over the maintenance of the structure is yet another horrific tale of this system puts profit above people’s lives. These acts of neglect from public authorities and private companies are not something new. Lopez Meza, who worked as a seismic consultant, said, “Here in Mexico, nothing is taken care of until a tragedy occurs.” But this doesn’t need to be. If workers and ordinary people were the ones responsible to organize services that we depend on daily public safety would be the highest priority. Safe and accessible transportation shouldn’t be a scarcity, but available to all. Who would understand this better than workers and others who use major public services themselves?