A Facebook video of Tijuana taxi drivers racing each other on Sunday morning lead many Tijuanenses to call out the habits of these drivers and to demand accountability from transit police.
The video shows taxis de ruta, which act more like minibuses than private cabs, racing along the normally congested Boulevard Diaz Ordaz during low traffic hours. The people recording the video can be heard commenting things like “they are racing with passengers on board, what is wrong with them?” and “they’re carrying people, not cattle.”
Comments on the video shared by a Tijuana memes page included serious concerns about how widespread the problem of route taxis racing is. “This is how accidents are caused,” wrote a woman. “These guys always blow past red lights and race each other to pick up more passengers at the next stop,” posted another Facebook user.
Others joked about how everyone wins when “public transportation is faster.” A commenter wrote, “they obviously have to drive like this because we are all in a hurry to get home.” One young man simply stated that if everyone were to send in a video of taxis de ruta racing the page would become overrun with such content.
The video was reposted on Tijuana-based journalist Alfredo Alvarez’s page with the message “Look at this… here is a mission for Francisco Fraga,” calling out the new director of Tijuana’s public transit office, who was sworn in this November. At his taking of the oath, Fraga stated he would “firmly work to uphold the office’s policies” and work to instill greater order in public transportation.
After much outcry, the driver of one of the taxis seen racing in the video was fined on Monday. In a picture posted to Alvarez's Facebook page, a Tijuana transit officer is seen giving a fine to the driver at a municipal office while Fraga stands by. “The speedy driver recorded on social media has been cited. Thanks to Francisco Fraga for tending to citizen complaints,” reads the text accompanying the picture.
Gabriela, who declined to provide her last name, travels from the east end of the red and black taxi route to downtown Tijuana, where she then walks to the El Chaparral border crossing. She said that while it is a good thing the law is being enforced, one irresponsible driver receiving a fine isn't enough.
“Yeah, they got one driver, but most of the others race each other too, even in heavy traffic. And that’s just the taxi drivers, then you have the mini bus drivers and bus drivers racing each other too. It is an endless problem,” she said.