Tijuana turns to Bus Rapid Transit

10/24/2015  The San Diego Union-Tribune 

— Given a choice, few passengers would willingly board Tijuana’s rag-tag fleet of multi-colored buses that crowd the city’s major thoroughfares. Riders complain they’re old, inefficient, slow, uncomfortable — and expensive. They say that service can be spotty, unsafe, and at rush hour overcrowded.

Now, after years of false starts, Tijuana is moving forward on a major overhaul of its public transportation system, often criticized as serving political interests rather than its 1 million daily users. Next fall, a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is expected to start service to some 300,000 passengers a day, the first step in a plan that aims to modernize public transportation in the entire city.

Passengers will pay through Smart Cards, and for a single fare of about 14 pesos — less than a dollar — they’ll be able to transfer without extra charge. The service will be safer, cheaper, faster, and more comfortable, city officials say, with stations offering free internet service. The system will create new economic zones along the way, they hope, as people invest in shops, restaurants and other businesses.

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The first suspected narcotunnel found since El Chapo’s escape has all the hallmarks of Mexico’s top cartel

8/5/15 Business Insider

Map_Downtown_Tijuana_Northern_Baja_California_MexicoThe tunnel is roughly 19 feet deep, 5.5 feet high, and over 400 feet long, and it bears all the signs of the famously subterranean Sinaloa cartel and its leader, “Lord of the Soil” Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán. According to Spanish newspaper El País, the tunnel was discovered by Mexico authorities on June 30, but details were only released on Sunday. No arrests have been made.

The entrance on the Mexican side was located in a warehouse emblazoned with the name Importadora y Exportadora Hega, a company about which internet searches turned up little. (According to El País, googling the company shows that it does cemetery construction.) The passageway, which had not been completed, connected the US and Mexico at a point near the busy border crossing at Garita de San Ysidro, near the city of Tijuana and across the border from San Diego.

The tunnel had light fixtures as well as rail track. Though its exact purpose and designers remain unknown, it is suspected that it was built to smuggle drugs.

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US-Mexico border drug tunnel found near Tijuana

08/03/15 BBC NEWS

TijuanaSecurity forces in Mexico have discovered an underground tunnel aimed at crossing into the United States.

The unfinished tunnel, in the border city of Tijuana, is believed to have been built by the Sinaloa cartel with the aim of smuggling drugs into the US.

Last month Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, escaped from a maximum security jail through a 1.5km-long (1 mile) tunnel.

Guzman, one of the world’s most wanted drug dealers, is still on the run.

Officials from the federal prosecutor’s office said the tunnel was 123m (404ft) long, but came just short of crossing the border.

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Immigration Reform 2015: Tijuana, Mexico Border Security To Be Tightened Over Pedestrian Foot Traffic

7/20/15 International Business Times

border_at_tijuana-tomas-castelazo2Mexican immigration officials will be stepping up their inspections of foreigners entering the country on foot, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. A new building for Mexican immigration and customs inspection stations is scheduled to open at the Tijuana pedestrian entry in September.

Officials are expected to require foreigners entering Tijuana from San Ysidro, California, to show travel documentation if entering Mexico by foot. Authorities plan to create two pedestrian lanes for those entering Mexico: one for foreigners and one for Mexican citizens.

“Our intention is not to create congestion at the border,” said Rodulfo Figueroa, head of Mexico’s National Migrant Institute in the Mexican state of Baja California, the Union-Tribune reported. “Our intention is to try different strategies to process as many people as we can within a reasonable time frame.”

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Tijuana and the Future of Trade

6/7/15 The Huffington Post

tijuana photoblogSince 1928, Tijuana, Mexico, has been portrayed as the city of sin — the place that allowed “mob entrepreneurs” to take advantage of its strategic location in order to satisfy U.S. demand for all things illegal. Tijuana also became the most visited border city in the world, mainly thanks to tourism.

In 1994, when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect, it was widely expected to be the key for Mexico to finally join leading economies in the 21st century. The agreement pushed Tijuana to evolve from a focus on tourism to one on manufacturing.

Companies like Samsung, Panasonic, Sony and others opened massive assembly plants there.

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The meth-toting drone that crashed in Tijuana

1/22/15 Washington Post 

AP Photo/Secretaria de Seguridad Pública Municipal de Tijuana
AP Photo/Secretaria de Seguridad Pública Municipal de Tijuana

A drug-toting drone has crashed into a supermarket parking lot in Mexico, a couple of miles from the U.S. border. Authorities said the remote-controlled drone was toting more than six pounds of methamphetamine when it crashed Tuesday night in Tijuana, near the San Ysidro Border Crossing and about 15 miles from San Diego. Six meth packets were strapped to the aircraft with plastic webbing and black tape, police said. Tijuana police told U-T San Diego it was likely carrying the loot between neighborhoods — not across the border. However, it wouldn’t be the first time drug smugglers got creative.

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Mexican Judge Orders Release of Jailed U.S. Marine Veteran

10/31/14 Wall Street Journal

120px-Tijuana-San_Diego_borderA Mexican judge has ordered the immediate release of a jailed U.S. Marine veteran who spent eight months behind bars for crossing the border with loaded guns. Family spokesman Jonathan Franks told the Associated Press on Friday that the judge decided to release retired Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi. Mr. Franks said the judge released him without making a determination on the charge against him. “It is with an overwhelming and humbling feeling of relief that we confirm that Andrew was released today after spending 214 days in Mexican Jail,” the family said in a statement.

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