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Metro chief Serranía. Metro chief Serranía.

64% of Mexico City subway system’s surveillance cameras don’t work

Transit system's new boss charges that Metro was 'looted' by previous city governments

“Looting” by previous Mexico City governments in the management of the Metro subway system has been blamed for a number of deficiencies, including surveillance cameras that don’t work.

The director general of the system said yesterday a whopping 64% of the cameras are not functional on a transit system with a worsening reputation for insecurity.

Florencia Serranía Soto said Metro staff have found camera control centers that are simply empty shells.

While there are 3,365 cameras installed throughout the subway, only 1,208 are actually functional.

In most cases, the cameras are damaged and are so old that no spare parts are available and must be replaced.

Serranía said 509 new cameras will be purchased this year and installed in 22 subway stations identified as critical.

Three months after taking office, the subway system’s chief explained that several other problems have been identified, most of them caused by a lack of maintenance, omissions and looting.

“We are not going after [former government] officials, we are going after more trains. We don’t have time for a witch hunt,” said Serranía, adding that her main goal is to put more cars on the rails, make the whole system more efficient and work toward its modernization.

“Improvised and unsupervised suppliers were sent here for years; today, those interested in joining the modernization process will be held accountable, and technical capacity, quality and prices will be demanded from them.”

She said the subway system’s budget “has always been there,” and that past administrations could have done much more. Serranía sees her mission as eliminating corruption in order to have a system that operates under optimal conditions.

“We are finishing a 50-year program for the Metro. The system hit rock bottom in terms of abandonment, so we’re going to kickstart a true modernization program that will benefit users,” she said.

This is not the first time Serranía has been at the helm of the subway. She held the same position from 2000 to 2005 when President López Obrador was mayor.

A survey last month found 37% of Metro users had been victims of theft, while 60% said insecurity has increased. Dozens of accounts by women who were victims of kidnapping attempts earlier this year triggered the announcement of a new security strategy.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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