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Weak peso, border tensions, slow shuttle vans

Van services see fewer passengers
Posted at 7:49 PM, Apr 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-13 22:49:59-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Border economics, and cross-border tensions are showing up in one of the businesses that brings border communities together.

Fewer people are riding shuttle vans from the border.

In Tucson and in Nogales shuttle services have done a brisk business bringing people up from the Mexican border and sometimes on to Phoenix.   But since the new President took office those seats are not filling up the way they used to.

In Tucson, South 6th Avenue is a real center for vans that shuttle from Nogales, to Tucson to Phoenix and back again.

But business is slowing down.  At Sahuaro Shuttle they say they'd usually be packed with passengers coming for the Holy Week before Easter but instead of the usual 20 runs a day, they might make just ten.

Jonathan Ramirez family owns the service.  

He thinks economics are a big part of the slump.  The peso is weak.  The dollar is strong so it's more expensive for Mexicans to shop in the U.S.                      

Ramirez says sometimes rumors scare off Mexicans who have perfectly legal visas.

“There were a lot of stories about people getting forced to sign papers and give up their visas.  So a lot of people got scared. So a lot of people just stopped travelling.  I think it's also people being not informed.  They think once there's a new President that it was all going to change so a lot of people didn't travel."

And he thinks President Trump is part of why Mexicans are staying away.

“A lot of people take the President's comments personally; so they actually don't come just because of what the President says.  Kind of like when the SB1070 was happening people from Mexico weren't coming here even if they are Latino businesses they don't use them and it affects us."

And he says when he visits Mexico the atmosphere there feels less welcoming as tensions rise on both sides of the border.