It’s 8:15 a.m., do you know where your children are?

Every morning, I witness a couple near-death experiences.

They occur a few feet away from me on La Reforma, as I sit on the bus while thousands of bikers, pedestrians, cars, camiones and microbuses (i.e. buses and shitty buses) squeeze into the same street, trying not to crush each other.

You wonder: could it ever end? Is there any possible way? Of course, the government has tried. But their latest effort looks beyond D.F.’s millions of commuters, beeping and bumping their way to the office every morning.

Instead, it targets their kids.

Thanks to a public program, some school children are now obligated to take school buses. No more lifts from mommy. In September 2009, the Programa de Transporte Escolar obligatorio (Prote) launched a test run of the program. Within a month, proponents were touting faster driving speeds and lower carbon monoxide rates near schools. And yet not long after, protesters–i.e. parents and schools–were showing their muscle through “amparos” or what I can only assume are restraining orders or injunctions to thwart the mandatory bus service.

I still don’t have a great handle on why so many parents are so anti-Transporte Obligatorio. Seems like a sharp idea to me: Less cars, less traffic, less pollution, less tardiness.  But on the surface, the self-protective attitude perfectly matches what I see on the bus every morning: A general every-man-for-himself rage.

The road is where nice D.F. residents go to become inconsiderate shit-heads.  It’s a portal of assholery filled with: Drivers that speed up after spotting a pedestrian; drivers that back up for two blocks straight (barely looking behind them). Here, every light is a green light, if there’s nothing in your way.


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