Mexico City to Lose its Bugs

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The Volkswagen Beetle, Bug for Mexicans, will be retired from cab service by the end of the year.

Mexico City will phase out the old Volkswagen Beetle, known for Mexicans as Bug, by the end of this year. According to Mexican regulations, cabs are allowed licenses for 8 years; however Bug cab owners were allowed a 10 year license. Next year it will be 10 years since the last Beetle was produced in Puebla and the last of the Bug cabs' licenses will expire. Not long ago the Bug was the most popular cab in the Mexican capital with over 50,000 cars, almost half of capital's cabs.

That was despite the fact that its production, in Puebla, Mexico, was discontinued in 2003. During those years, Mexican cab drivers engineered the two-door car to suit their customers' needs. For example, they eliminated the front left hand seat in order to open up space for to make boarding the car and alighting it easier for passengers free up more space for luggage. However the seat's exacerbated safety concerns of car whose design is rooted from the early '30s, so its safety measures are poor in comparison to modern cars.

For a time the Bugs were also notorious as a robbery trap, because passengers couldn't escape if attacked from the front door. The Bug became a popular mode of transportation in Mexico because it was cheap to run, much cheaper in fact than the American cars that were on the market. Their fans claim that their low speed and unique air cooled engine noise contributed to safety on Mexico City's streets, and because they were fragile their drivers/owners were more safety conscious. Photos courtesy of AFP/Getty Images, Antoine Hubert, AP/PhotoGregory-Bull, Archivo, stevecadman.

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