March 26, 2015

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Chapultepec Bus Depot: A Much Needed Rebuild

September 9, 2014

For anyone in the central part of the city (Delegacion CuauhtĂ©moc), you may have used this bus depot at one point or another. It’s a prime location to catch buses out to various corners of the city. I used to catch a bus there myself several times a week out to Bosques de Chapultepec, as well as to the further out areas at the tail end of Reforma. In any case, I use the term “depot” a little freely here, as it’s more just an open air pavilion of sorts where dozens of bus routes converge.

A view of the current depot.

In my experience, the Chapultepec depot is a chaotic mess and has clearly not been updated in many years. If you’re not familiar with where you’re going or what bus to take, it can be a difficult task to navigate the maze of people and “micros”. You also have to time your arrival fairly well. If you have to take a morning bus, arriving by 7am is essential. If you do, you’ll likely be able to hop on a bus fairly quickly (and have a cherished seat!).
But arrive at 7:30 or later, and there may be more than 100 people in line. And literally everyone is in a hurry, so don’t expect much chivalry when boarding. It’s an every-man (and woman)-for-themselves kind of vibe. It’s even worse during the rainy season that runs from late May to October. There are some shelters from the elements, but the lines to catch the buses, especially in the mornings, tend to get so long that you’re only under them for a few seconds anyway. The rest of the time, you’re exposed.

So it’s not quite the model of efficiency that say, the Metrobus is much more like. It reeks of the old-school city that is slowly, thankfully, giving way. And Chapultepec depot is about to get a huge makeover.

Starting in early 2015, construction will begin on a massive $300 million project to completely transform this complex into the new Centro de Transferencia Modal, or Centram. The project’s details are as follows:

-A new 41-story office and retail tower will be constructed at the current site of part of the bus depot. Here is the spot:

This section is the northern part closest to Reforma and just west of the triangle-shaped office building.

-Around it, a new pedestrian plaza will be constructed connecting it to the entrance to Bosques de Chapultepec where the Estela de Luz is, otherwise known by many as the ugly light tower.

The new building will go behind the light tower directly to the right of the 3-story building in the background.

An overview of the project site.

An overview of the project site.

-Meanwhile, the rest of the depot will get a much more pedestrian-friendly layout. The buses will enter and exit from the same side of a long, landscaped roundabout, as seen in the rendering below.

New bus depot.

New bus depot.

It will be a huge change from what’s there now.

More renderings:

More plaza renderings.

More plaza renderings.

All in all, a great looking project and a nice nod to the city’s continuing push to increase pedestrian friendliness in a city overrun by auto traffic.

The project is set to be finished by mid-2018, but phases could open up as early as mid-2017.