Unfortunately for you, your car is out of service, because, “Hoy no circula.” “Hoy no circula” is a term used in Mexico which means “No circulation today.” This is an eco-friendly government policy that is currently being implemented due to the sudden rise of air pollution since 2002. This action is being held in 16 cities of the Distrito Federal (Federal District), and in 18 cities of the Estado de Mexico (State of Mexico).
Although the level of pollution in Mexico has seen an overall decrease in recent years, Mexico City is seeing its worst smog since 2002. To combat the issue, the city government has implemented a temporary driving prohibition. The policy places vehicles into groups of 1&2, 3&4, 5&6, 7&8, and 9&0, based on the last number of the license plate. Then, each group is assigned with at least one day of the week when they are not allowed to drive. This new regulation limits the usage of well over a million vehicles.
Hoy No Circula is predicted to end towards the end of June, a time of heavy rainfall for Mexico. There is no exact date of expiration – it all depends on whether the city can get its air pollution levels under control.
To enforce the regulation, the Mexican government is fining citizens up to 1614 pesos, or $92 USD, for driving when prohibited.
This issue has become a subject of much significance and controversy for affected Mexican citizens.
Javier García, a Mexican taxi driver of the age 32, told JSR, “I’m not sure, but I think it’s been 7 years since I had become a taxi driver. I never really had much of a profit left from this taxi driver job. But nowadays, things are different. Now since people even with their own private transportation find the need of a taxi, because of the Hoy No Circula, I earn more than twice than I used to earn in the past, and that really makes me happy.”
However, not everyone is happy about the policy.. Jesús León, a private household driver, aged 41, said in an interview with JSR, “the Hoy No Circula thing affects everybody, apart from public transportation drivers and school bus drivers and a few more. As I am affected by this, I have to make sure I have more than one car available, as one might not be in effect in a day, when the family I serve needs to go somewhere. It is quite annoying though, changing cars constantly, so I wish this whole Hoy No Circula thing would end.”
In an interview with JSR, Kyeong Hee Lim, a 50 year-old mother of 3, said, “I am not able to drive my car every Tuesday and the second Saturday of every month. This has made my schedule a lot more complicated. Every Tuesday my youngest son and my daughter have to go their academy, so I always find the need of asking someone who is unaffected that day for a carpool or a taxi. Nowadays some taxi drivers demand twice of their normal price, which really irritates me. This whole nonsense makes my life a lot more inconvenient. This sudden proposal of a limitation of car circulation is driving me crazy!”
Hoy No Circula is an obligation for everyone, excluding the few who are not affected due to special permission from the government. Despite the inconvenience it may cause, the regulation is necessary for reducing dangerously high levels of air pollution and improving Mexican citizens’ health.