General public transportation along the U.S.-Mexico border is scarce at finest now, but seventy yrs back there was a inexpensive, efficient way for people today to appear and go throughout the border that ran on electricity.
Presidents’ Meeting Committee (PCC) Streetcars ran in between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua from 1950 until eventually 1973, ferrying thousands and thousands of travellers in excess of the Rio Grande and supplying them quick access to both equally nations.
The streetcars had been essentially such a great strategy, that the town of El Paso introduced them back in 2018, many years soon after shuttering the system. But it’s not really the same, for the reason that the new fleet does not operate throughout the two countries anymore.
The PCC streetcars have a intriguing and extended historical past, which I encourage you to glance at, but one particular of the primary takeaways was that personal car possession is a single of the motives — together with annoyed merchants — why the system shut down in the to start with location.
Rising rates of vehicle possession in the spot slowly eroded the have to have for the PCC streetcars and they were being retired in 1974. They were being discarded in the Texas desert afterwards and just variety of sat there, baking beneath the Texas sunshine for a long time even though metropolis officers tried using to get their traces again up and working.
The car renovation task acquired commenced in 2015 and a few yrs later, in 2018, the electrical streetcars ended up ready to have travellers on town strains. Six of the initial PCC vehicles were refurbished and put again into service. The fashionable fleet even runs on energy that the substation provides alone, according to Sunlight Metro, which operates the fleet.
The cars and trucks also acquired some practical additions in the approach, like wheelchair ramps, onboard wifi and bicycle racks. The modern-day streetcar lines operate shorter routes than the ones in the past, although. Mostly all over downtown El Paso and to the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP.)
It would be wonderful to have public transportation like this between the two international locations yet again. If you’ve at any time been by way of a border crossing in your individual motor vehicle, you are going to comprehend what I imply. It usually takes hours! I’m speaking three to 5 hrs on holidays, or a single to two hours on a “quick” working day.
Not only would these streetcars be an unbelievable support for persons along the border. I know I’d individually considerably instead sit in an air-conditioned, electrical streetcar with wifi than in my motor vehicle. I can’t imagine infrastructure on the border peaked around fifty percent a century ago, but it did.