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Servicio de Transportes Eléctricos

Servicio de Transportes Eléctricos del Distrito Federal (STE) (Spanish for Electric Transport Service of the Federal District) is a public transport agency responsible for the operation of all trolleybus and light rail services in Mexico City. As its name implies, its routes use only electrically powered vehicles. It was created on 31 December 1946 and is owned by the Mexican Federal District government.[5] STE is overseen by a broader Federal District authority, Secretaría de Transportes y Vialidad (STV, or Setravi) (Secretariat of Transportation and Highways), which also regulates the city's other public transport authorities, including Sistema de Transporte Colectivo (STC, the Mexico City Metro system), Red de Transporte de Pasajeros del Distrito Federal (RTP, diesel bus network) and Metrobús, as well as other forms of transportation in the district.[6] STE's passenger vehicle fleet consists exclusively of trolleybuses and light rail vehicles, and in 2007 its network carried 88 million passengers, of which 67 million were on trolleybus services and 21 million on light rail.[6]

Servicio de Transportes Eléctricos del Distrito Federal
STE logo.svg
LocaleMexico City, Mexico
Transit typeTrolleybus, Light rail
Number of linesTrolleybus: 8 (2018)[1]
Light rail: 1
Began operation1947
Number of vehicles360 trolleybuses (approx.)[2]
24 light rail cars[3]
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8½ in) (standard gauge)
ElectrificationTrolleybus: 600 V, DC
Light rail: 750 V DC[4]
A PCC streetcar of STE in 1971


STE was organized in 1947, to replace the privately run Compañía de Tranvías de México (Mexico City Tramways Company),[5] operator of the city's tramway/streetcar network, but did not completely take over the assets and operations of that company until October 1952.[5][7] STE also took over the Compañía de Ferrocarriles del Distrito Federal (Mexico City Railways Company) at that time.[5] The agency introduced its first trolleybus route in 1951.[8] To replace worn-out streetcars, STE acquired 274 used PCC cars from U.S. transit companies that were downsizing or abandoning their streetcar systems.[7][9] Similarly, as it expanded its trolleybus network, the agency turned to American and Canadian transit companies as a relatively inexpensive source of vehicles, acquiring almost 800 secondhand trolleybuses from several different cities in those countries between 1956 and 1977[10][11] and later 37 from Edmonton in 1987. These have all since been replaced by trolleybuses built new, in Mexico, by Mexicana de Autobuses SA (MASA) or its successor, Volvo.


A station on the Tren Ligero, STE's light rail line

STE's Director General (General Manager) is appointed by the Head of Government of the Federal District, or "mayor" of Mexico City. Since December 2018 the position has been held by Guillermo Calderón Aguilera.[12] As of 2008, STE had approximately 2,700 employees.[6]

Light railEdit

After May 1979, the only streetcar line still in operation was that from Tasqueña metro station to Xochimilco (route 54) and its short branch to Tlalpan (53).[13] STE upgraded this line in the mid-1980s as light rail, with high-platform stations for faster loading and new articulated light rail cars built using parts from old PCC streetcars, fitted with new bodies.[14] The Xochimilco Light Rail service began operating in 1986, without the Tlalpan branch. It continues in operation today, with newer cars, and locally is known as the Tren Ligero. It is STE's only rail line.[6] Construction of a new streetcar line (or tranvía) in the city center was planned,[15] with STE managing the construction bidding process for the project,[16] but on 31 May 2010 the project was cancelled by mayor Marcelo Ebrard, on cost grounds.[17]


An STE trolleybus at Tasqueña in 1990

After its opening in the 1950s the trolleybus network was gradually expanded. A network of 27 routes in operation in early 1979 was reduced to about 10 later that year, through a reorganization that combined overlapping routes, rather than through abandonments.[11] An expansion program implemented after 1982 raised the number of separate routes back to 27, operated by 30 different services,[8] by the end of 1988.[18] STE's network reached its widest geographic coverage at that point, when the route most-distant from the city center was one from Tláhuac to Milpa Alta, in the far southeastern corner of the Federal District.[18] This coverage was maintained only until early 1991. Although new routes were opened in 1995, 1997 and 2005, overall STE has, since 1991, discontinued more trolleybus routes than it has opened, with only 17 trolleybus routes still in operation in 2007.[4] In 2009 and 2010, construction work on new metro line 12 disrupted surface streets (requiring traffic detours) and caused some STE routes to be replaced by diesel bus routes, which were operated by RTP, as STE does not own any diesel buses. These conversions were originally planned be temporary, but whereas metro line 12 opened in October 2012, only one of the affected routes (D) had returned to operation by mid-2014, and a total of only eight trolleybus routes were in operation at that time,[2] a situation that remains unchanged in 2018.[1] The total number of trolleybuses scheduled in peak service each weekday is 264, as of mid-2014, from a fleet of around 360 serviceable vehicles.[2]

"Zero-Emissions Corridors"Edit

The trolleybuses serving the "Zero-Emissions Corridors" wear a two-tone-green paint scheme, but the distinctive graphic of El Ángel that was originally included (2009) was removed around early 2013.[19]

On 1 August 2009, STE inaugurated its first Corredor Cero Emisiones, or Zero-Emissions Corridor, in which all public transport service along one of the city's major traffic arteries is now provided by electric trolleybuses.[8][20][21] This was not a new trolleybus line, but rather an upgrading of an existing line, STE's route A, along Eje Central (Central Traffic Axis, primarily Avenida Lázaro Cárdenas).[20] The route extends for 18.3 kilometres (11.4 mi), from Instituto del Petróleo metro station and the Terminal de Autobuses del Norte (northern intercity bus station) to Tasqueña metro station and the Terminal de Autobuses del Sur (southern intercity bus station).[22] The changes involved in transforming route A into the "Zero-Emissions Corridor" included significantly increasing the frequency of trolleybus service, to an average headway of 2.5 minutes, and banning all non-electric buses and peseros (vans/jitneys) from the corridor.[20][21] The Eje Central corridor alone now uses about 90–100 trolleybuses at peak times, from a sub-fleet of 120 vehicles reserved for this route.[20] The trolleybuses operate in bus-only lanes, separated from other traffic; such lanes already were present on this route. Several of STE's other trolleybus routes also operate in bus-only lanes over some portions of their route.

Changes to route S (Eje 2/2A Sur) to transform it into a second Zero-Emissions Corridor took place in 2010, and the improved service was put into effect on 21 December 2010. Route S connects Chapultepec metro station with Velódromo metro station and is 9 kilometres (6 mi) long (18 km round trip).[23]

On 1 November 2012, the third Zero-Emissions Corridor was opened, along route D, from Mixcoac metro station to San Andrés Tetepilco, just past Calzada de Tlalpan, where it connects with metro line 2.[24] The terminus is located in front of STE's main trolleybus depot, which also houses a small museum preserving one of the first electric trams to run in the city, as well as PCC car 2784 and some other historic material and documents.[25]


The system has three trolleybus garages (depositos, or depots). The largest is at Tetepilco, also the location of STE's main administrative offices. The newest, El Rosario, opened in December 1998,[26] as a replacement for a much smaller depot, Azcapotzalco, which had closed in May of that year.[27] The third is San Juan de Aragón depot.[2] The trolleybus fleet included around 400 vehicles in 2008[4] and around 360 in 2014.[2]

Non-electric servicesEdit

Starting in November 1997,[28] and lasting for four years, STE operated a few diesel bus routes, at the request of STV following the 1995 bankruptcy[29] of RTP's predecessor, Ruta Cien ("Route 100").[30] It accepted the transfer of 190 motorbuses to its fleet in conjunction with this,[30] but these and the bus routes were transferred to RTP in November 2001.[31] Otherwise, except for a brief period in the 1960s, STE's service has always used only electric vehicles.[28]

Fare systemEdit

STE uses a "flat" fare system, meaning the price is the same regardless of the distance travelled. The current fare is 2.00 pesos on all trolleybus lines except lines A, D and S, the three Corredores Cero Emisiones, on which the fare is 4.00 pesos. Effective 2 January 2010, the fare on the Xochimilco light rail line is 3.00 pesos.[32]

On the Tren Ligero, or light rail line, passengers pay the fare at the stations, to ticket vending machines, and the platform of each station is a paid area, with turnstiles preventing access to persons lacking a valid fare. On the trolleybuses, passengers pay the exact fare upon boarding, into fareboxes, with drivers responsible for monitoring fare payment.[6]

In an attempt to modernize the fare systems of the city's major transit systems and make fare payment more convenient, in October 2012 the Mexico City government implemented the use of a prepaid fare card, or stored-value card, called Tarjeta DF (roughly Mexico City card) as a payment method valid on the metro system, Metrobús, the STE trolleybus system and the Xochimilco Light Rail line.[33]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Líneas de Trolebuses" (in Spanish). STE. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e Trolleybus Magazine No. 318 (November–December 2014), p. 159. National Trolleybus Association. (UK). ISSN 0266-7452.
  3. ^ Tramways & Urban Transit magazine, September 2014, p. 399. LRTA Publishing (UK). ISSN 1460-8324.
  4. ^ a b c Webb, Mary (ed.) (2008). Jane's Urban Transport Systems 2008-2009, p. 244. Coulsdon, Surrey (UK): Jane's Information Group. ISBN 978-0-7106-2860-2.
  5. ^ a b c d "Antecedentes (Past)" (in Spanish). STE. Archived from the original on 13 January 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e Webb, Mary (ed.) (2009). Jane's Urban Transport Systems 2009-2010. Coulsdon, Surrey (UK): Jane's Information Group. ISBN 978-0-7106-2903-6.
  7. ^ a b Morrison, Allen (2003). The Tramways of Mexico City, Part 4. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
  8. ^ a b c Morrison, Allen (2010). The Trolleybuses of Latin America in 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
  9. ^ Middleton, William D. (1967). The Time of the Trolley, pp. 308–309. Milwaukee: Kalmbach Publishing. ISBN 0-89024-013-2.
  10. ^ Sebree, Mac; and Ward, Paul (1974). The Trolley Coach in North America, pp. 347–355. Los Angeles: Interurbans. LCCN 74-20367.
  11. ^ a b Morgan, Steve (1990). "Mexico Review: Part 2", Trolleybus Magazine No. 174 (November–December 1990), pp. 128–137. ISSN 0266-7452.
  12. ^ "Director General" (in Spanish). STE. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  13. ^ Modern Tramway, October 1979 issue, p. 364. Ian Allan Publishing.
  14. ^ Morrison, Allen (1996). Latin America by Streetcar: A Pictorial Survey of Urban Rail Transport South of the U.S.A., pp. 20 and 23. New York: Bonde Press. ISBN 0-9622348-3-4.
  15. ^ Tramways & Urban Transit magazine, April 2010, p. 150. Light Rail Transit Association (UK).
  16. ^ Gómez Flores, Laura (18 May 2010). "De 19 firmas interesadas en construir el tranvía, sólo Alstom presentó propuestas". La Jornada (in Spanish). Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  17. ^ Gómez Flores, Laura (1 June 2010). "Desde Alemania frena Ebrard el tranvía del Centro Histórico". La Jornada (in Spanish). p. 32. Retrieved 28 January 2011.
  18. ^ a b Morgan, Steve (1991). "Mexico Review: Part 3", Trolleybus Magazine No. 175 (January–February 1991), pp. 4–14. ISSN 0266-7452.
  19. ^ Trolleybus Magazine No. 316 (July–August 2014), p. 106.
  20. ^ a b c d Trolleybus Magazine No. 288 (November–December 2009), pp. 139–140. National Trolleybus Association. (UK). ISSN 0266-7452.
  21. ^ a b Cuenca, Alberto (1 August 2009). "Corredor Cero Emisiones inicia operaciones (Zero-Emissions Corridor begins operations)". El Universal (in Spanish). Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  22. ^ "Corredor Cero Emisiones "Eje Central": Dinámica de Operación" (PDF) (in Spanish). STE. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  23. ^ Trolleybus Magazine No. 296 (March–April 2011), p. 42.
  24. ^ Robles, Johana; Mora, Karla (1 November 2012). "Arranca corredor Tetepilco a Mixcoac; costa $4.00" [Tetepilco–Mixcoac Corridor starts; cost $4.00]. El Universal (in Spanish). Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  25. ^ "Proyectos: Museo de Transportes Eléctricos del D.F." (in Spanish). STE. Archived from the original on 18 January 2016. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  26. ^ Trolleybus Magazine No. 224 (March–April 1999), p. 44.
  27. ^ Trolleybus Magazine No. 221 (September–October 1998), p. 113
  28. ^ a b Trolleybus Magazine No. 220 (July–August 1998), p. 93.
  29. ^ McMahon, Colin (14 April 1995). "Mexico's plight: Broken system". Chicago Tribune. p. 8. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  30. ^ a b Bushell, Chris (ed.) (1998). Jane's Urban Transport Systems 1998-99, p. 214. Coulsdon, Surrey (UK): Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-7106-1812-3.
  31. ^ Trolleybus Magazine No. 245 (September–October 2002), p. 115.
  32. ^ "Aviso al Público Usario" (in Spanish). STE. December 2009. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  33. ^ "Arranca el uso de la TarjetaDF para Metro, Metrobús y Trolebús" [Use of the TarjetaDF for Metro, Metrobús and Trolleybus begins]. Excélsior (in Spanish). 17 October 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2013.

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