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ecobici Rack of Ecobici bicycles at a bicycle station in Mexico City. Veo Verde

Mexico faces similar challenges to those seen by Netherlands

Mexico and The Netherlands have a lot in common, according to the head of economics at The Netherlands’ embassy in Mexico.

Today Mexico has arrived at a point where it must consider challenges in the areas of infrastructure and ecology, very similar to those that have been faced in Holland, says Jaap Veerman, who notes that, like Holland, in the last 50 years Mexico has had significant growth and increase in population, driving greater demand for services.

“We can see the power of innovation that has begun in Mexico, which has resulted in the generation of important strategies in the area of sustainability,” said Veerman at the forum Sustainable Innovation in the Megalopolis, being held this week in Mexico City. He pointed to the Ecobici program as an example.

In an interview, Veerman said the public bicycle program has proved successful and enjoys high acceptance for being an ecological, economical and logistical solution that is very efficient, in a city as complex as the Federal District.

Launched in 2010, Ecobici is a system of shared public bicycles in Mexico City. According to its website, it emerged from the need to address challenges related to economic competitivity, mobility and environment.

Today it has 3,600 bicycles located in 275 bicycle stations in an area of 21 square kilometers. Users have a card with which they can borrow a bicycle for up to 45 minutes from one of the stations and then leave it the station closest to their destination.

Ecobici has 120,000 registered users, who can pay for the service by the day, for a three-day period, for a week or annually, at a cost of 90, 180, 300 and 400 pesos, respectively.

Veerman said Holland has a special interest in Mexico and can learn a great deal from it, while at the same time Holland can offer the experience gained over the last five decades in the areas of infrastructure, logistics and politics in terms of ecology and green projects.

The bicycle has played an important role in the relationship between the two countries. One of the organizers of the innovation forum is the Dutch Cycling Embassy in Mexico, an organization designed to promote cycling and share information about it.

Cycling, says the embassy, is at the heart of Dutch culture. Indeed, 16 million citizens of Holland own 18 million bicycles.

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