Centros de Transferencia Modal (CETRAMs)

Modal Transfer Centers


A key feature of the MCMA’s metropolitan transportation fragmentation is that bus services from the surrounding suburbs are not permitted to operate within the boundaries of Mexico City, and vice versa. This creates a massive need for passengers to transfer between colectivos and buses from the State of Mexico to public transport in Mexico City (Guerra 2017). Transit-dependent travelers coming to work in the city center often must make multiple paid transfers across different transit lines and modes, many including a bus or colectivo for at least one part of the trip.

Most of the transfers between transit modes in the MCMA happen at the 49 intermodal transfer stations known as CETRAMs3. CETRAMs serve as hubs connecting different transit systems across the MCMA. CETRAMs largely owe their existence to the barriers to inter-jurisdictional public transport service described above. After Mexico City’s Metro system opened, many CETRAMs grew organically in surrounding streets and empty lots to satisfy the massive demand for transfers to/from the Metro system and the unstructured system of buses, microbuses and colectivos. Over the years, some CETRAMs have been upgraded with basic infrastructure, while most have seen few improvements at all.


Average Daily Ridership for CETRAMs (2015)





3 In the State of Mexico, intermodal stations are referred to officially as ETRAMs (Estaciones de Transferencia Modal). For simplicity, throughout this case, they are referred to as CETRAM, the same acronym used for stations in Mexico City.