The buses in our area are privately owned but supposedly regulated by the government of the state. Recently Autobuses Excelsior had planned to raise fares from Xico to points in the mountains west of Xico, heading into Cofre de Perote and away from Xalapa. Excelsior is the only company covering those routes. An agreement had been reached between the government, the Movimiento Social Campesino de las Faldas del Cofre de Perote and Excelsior to establish rates considerably lower than what the company wanted: the highest fare would be 25 pesos (about $1.80) instead of the 40 pesos (about $3.00) Excelsior was planning.
When there was no evidence that this agreement would be enforced, campesinos decided to demonstrate by closing the road between Coatepec and Xico. They included a demand that another bus line be able to provide services at a lower rate to encourage competition.The routes they were concerned about serve a largely rural population of farmers and small shopkeepers and herders, not rich people by any stretch, so even the fare of 25 pesos is steep. An average minimum wage for the area might be at best around 90 pesos a day, or $6.79. It is lower than that for the many people who work in the informal economy.
Demonstrators show their banner and posters in the photo above.
Jim and I became aware of the demonstration because we had to drive the very definitely back road to Coatepec on one of the days. The demonstrators let emergency vehicles through in case you were worried. And after two days, they did get attention and the lower rates they sought.
On this map the red marker indicates Matlalapa, close to the end of the bus line.Los Pocitos is a little further. You can tell the roads aren't exactly major.
The demonstrators were peaceful, but as someone noted, most of the campesinos wore their machetes. They always do. If you look closely, you may be able to spot one in the photo below: