The next mayor, Juan Manuel “El Patas” Gastélum, is a candidate from the PAN party. The party currently in power is the PRI. Gastélum came into office the first day of December after winning a tight and contentious race on June 5th. Public transit businesses showed avid support for PAN and ardent negative remarks against PRI.
Public transit businesses have opposed SITT since it was first announced in September 2015. But in the first week of February 2016, 12 public transit businesses signed a document endorsing the project in what they called “a compromise agreement.” A couple of days after signing, nine businesses said they felt cheated by the mayor’s administration as they made some changes and expansions to the document that only benefited five businesses. Protests took place immediately. Taxistas compared Mayor Astiazarán to Hitler and blamed him for stealing their patrimony. Public transit businesses recently challenged the project with more than 900 injunctions and continue to oppose changes to public transit.
“We have to sensitize drivers and pedestrians,” said Astiazarán in a recent interview with Zeta News. “What we are trying to do is for the population to leave their vehicle behind and opt for this modern, economic, and comfortable transit system. There will be more traffic [in some areas], but in the long run there will be less.”
Tijuana has seen a heavy increase in traffic in recent days, due to simultaneous public works and a 13 percent increase in vehicles. Throughout the city there are new traffic lights creating havoc, posts placed in front of new sidewalk ramps, confusing signage worded like haiku, new bike lanes where cyclists rarely ride, and other general construction.
Astiazarán’s administration rushed to get the first phase of of the transportation system running before he left office on November 30th, and the first bus ran on November 20th to the displeasure of the transportistas, who blocked the bus’s path and punctured its tires. The new mayor, Gastélum, garnered part of his support through these same transportistas. Much of the public assumes the system will never reach the level of efficiency that’s been promised.