TIJUANA. - At 10AM today, December 10, 2016, supporters of the Group Against the Playas de Tijuana Toll Booth ("No al Cobro de la Caseta de Playas de Tijuana") will once again unite at the toll booth in question to protest what they assert is a violation of their constitutional right to free travel.
The Group began this movement in January 2015 with the objective of obtaining free transit for all residents of the area just south of the Playas de Tijuana toll booth - these residents pertain to the municipality of Tijuana but must pay the toll on their direct route to the city center or Playas de Tijuana or travel further south to Rosarito in order to access a free route. The Group claims that their petition is not only fair, but provided for by Article 11 of the Constitution which states that "all citizens have the right to enter the country, leave the country, and travel through the country" freely.
According to the group, the toll booth charge is unfair and unconstitutional as residents are forced to pay money to travel to and from their homes, schools, work and their municipality with no "free route" alternative. The toll booths were built over thirty years ago in order to pay off the cost of construction of the toll road. While the toll road has long since been paid off, the toll booth continues to operate and all those that travel along it, including the twelve thousand residents living in sixteen residential communities located to the south of it, are subject to the toll fare of 32 pesos, a one peso increased rate as of last month.
The continued operation of this toll booth, according to the group, is simply a collection mechanism and is a violation of the residents' rights over the past 50 years. For the twelve thousand residents living in the stretch of highway which is part of Tijuana south of the toll booth, the toll equates to an expenditure of approximately two thousand pesos a month for residents who must pay to leave, enter and travel to and from their homes. While residents can obtain a fifty percent discount, many claim that the requirements are burdensome, is limited to four vehicles, and that even at 16 pesos the cost of commuting to and from Tijuana adds up.
In addition to arranging regular protests, the group has engaged in various activities with all levels of government including local municipal, state, and federal authorities to seek exemption of this toll fare. They have denounced the negotiations sustained with the federal instances that oversee the toll booth operation - BANOBRAS, CAPUFE y SCT - agencies that have made commitments with the group over the course of the past nearly two years only to back away from the agreements often times by failing to return calls and emails. Over the past months, the group has announced various agreements that were on the table, such as the possibility of the state and municipal government subsidizing a portion of the toll fare that the residents have to pay, only for the negotiations to crumble in a similar manner.
The group claims that the most recent cause for aggravation came in recent days when the authorities not only didn't uphold their end of the agreement, but also increased the cost of the toll by one peso a slap in the face, according to the group, to an already hurting community.
The group sustains their two goals are to obtain total exemption as residents of Tijuana from the toll booth and for the toll booth to be cancelled altogether. In a recent press release, the group stated that they are strengthening the movement with various alliances with the goal of achieving the desired outcome, and is asking that citizens support the movement.