Monday, August 01, 2011

Expensive to drive in Mexico

Over the last several days we've taken a few trips, no incredibly long ones, mind you, but expensive ones. Last Friday evening we traveled up to San Juan del Río, for a goodbye party for CAM friends Rich and Sara Musgrave. Due to health complications, the Musgraves will be leaving the Koinonia camp ministry (at over 8000 ft.) to spend next semester in Puebla (around 7000 ft.), and then probably returning back to the U.S. Rich suffered a brain bleed half a year ago, and has been trying to stay healthy ever since. They will be missed.

On the way there, we took a new by-pass around Mexico City that actually begins very close (10 minutes) to where we live. The by-pass takes you the whole way around the city to the north...but for a price. To travel about 50 minutes we paid the following tolls... $1.30, $6.00, $1.22, $2.61, and $3.73. For the main highway from where the by-pass ends up to San Juan del Río (about an hour and a half), we paid another $6.35 and $5.48. So for a trip that took about 2 1/2 hours, we paid almost $27. That's U.S. dollars, not pesos!

On the way back, we tried a different route. We drove south on the main highway from San Juan to Mexico City, but instead of going to the by-pass close to Mexico City, we took a new road called the Arco Norte, and got off at Pachuca. From that point, we came south into northern Mexico City, and then home. Total cost...actually a bit more, at over $30. All of these roads were very nice, 4-lane roads, and people pay this because the options are generally two-lange roads that go thought small downs, or main roads in the city with red lights and lots of traffic.

All this in a country that continues to charge a road tax, called tenencia, for simply the right to drive your car. For example, we pay almost $200 a year for the tax on our 2006 Accent, and for newer, more expensive cars, the tax can be in the thousands of dollars. Something is just not right about that!

Although the highway from Mexico City to Acapulco is known for its high tolls, upwards of $70 to drive 4 1/2 hours, pretty much everywhere you want to go, you're going to pay for it! On our way from here to Tabasco several years ago, we went through 12 toll booths, some of them with fares of upwards of $10. Go to Veracruz from here and you'll pay around $50. Go to the border taking the new by-passes, well, probably around $75.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Seems to me we paid about double in tolls what we paid in gas coming up through Mexico this time. Yeah, not cheap! :)