Mexico City Madness

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It’s not easy to live in the Mexico City metro area. It really seems like the city government gets together and brainstorms how to make living here more onerous.

on·er·ous ˈōnərəs,ˈänərəs/adjective
adjective: onerous–involving an amount of effort and difficulty that is oppressively burdensome.
Ah yes, oppressively burdensome.
Mexico life in general is complicated. This past Thursday I spent nearly an hour and a half in three different offices trying to pay the water for the church property. Paying the rent and the phone bill also involve standing in lines. Sometimes even withdrawing money out of an ATM means a 10 minute wait. But these are realities pretty much everywhere in Mexico. What sets Mexico City apart is the driving restrictions.
First of all, emissions inspections are required twice a year. This involves driving to an emissions inspection station and…waiting in line. Assuming you don’t wait till the last week, it is a fairly simple and quick process. If you do wait till the last several days, expect to be in a line that could stretch nearly a mile long. Each inspection will set you back about $20.
For years, cars over 10 years old need to “rest” on day a week, and one Saturday a month. I love the euphemism. So if you have an older car, like we do, our Astro van “rests” every Monday and the first Saturday of every month. Except last year the law was changed. If your vehicle passes the emissions inspection, you get a “0” sticker, which means you can drive every day of the week. Alleluia! For the last year, we have had two vehicles available every day of the week. What a luxury!
Except that has just changed. Due to high pollution ratings three days in a row a couple weeks ago, a law was passed that from April 6 through June 30, ALL cars, new or not, will “rest” one day a week. No matter that they don’t overly contaminate. No matter that you, perhaps, just drove it off the lot brand new. No matter that it’s a sub-compact with a 1.0 liter engine. You cannot drive one day a week, and one Saturday a month.
It just so happens that both our vans end in the same two numbers, a 5 and 6. Which means we cannot drive on Mondays. Or the first Saturday of May and June. Ahhhh!!!!
In addition to these driving restrictions, Mexico City recently installed cameras all around the city, that will take a picture of your license plate if you are going over 50 mph (80 kph) on major routes, and 35 mph (50 kph) on secondary routes. And did I mention the annual road tax, that amounts to about $26 a year?
I’m trying to work on my attitude. So far I’m finding acceptance and resignation difficult! So…if you have a car and can drive it, it’s a good day.
(pic below from a few years ago!)

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