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for discussion of global initiatives and lessons learned perspectives on serving the mobility needs of their in public transportation, and to facilitate idea sharing communities. and the possible import of strategies for application to transportation communities in the United States. TRANSIT SYSTEM OVERVIEW For additional information about the Inter- AND PLANNING national Transit Studies Program, please contact Gwen Chisholm Smith at TCRP (202-334-3246; Guayaquil, Ecuador firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kathryn Harrington-Hughes Guayaquil, located on the Gulf of Guayaquil at Harrington-Hughes & Associates, Inc. (443-385- on the Pacific Ocean, is the largest city and port in 0300; email@example.com). Ecuador. It has a population of 2.5 million. When Mayor Jaime Nebot came into office in 2000, he ABOUT THIS DIGEST wanted to improve the city's economy and environ- ment, and he saw an improved public transportation The following digest is an overview of a study system as the key to both. Through the United Nations mission that investigated how several transit opera- Development Program, Nebot brought transit pro- tors and agencies in cities in South America accom- fessionals from Curitiba, Bogota, Buenos Aires, and modate sudden and significant growth in the number Quito to work with locals on planning the city's new of riders and increasing demand for service. Team system. More than three-quarters of the city's popula- members met with transit operators and agencies in tion is dependent on public transport, and they spend Guayaquil, Ecuador; Santiago, Chile; Buenos Aires, roughly one-third of their monthly income on fares Argentina; and Porto Alegre, Brazil. The digest is (the average per capita income in 2006 was US$170). based on individual reports provided by the mission The new mass transportation system, which team members, and it reflects the observations of opened in 2006, is called Metrovia. It replaced a pri- the team members, who are responsible for the facts vately owned, very disorganized bus system. Under and accuracy of the data presented. The digest does the old system, there was a surplus of buses running not necessarily reflect the views of TCRP, TRB, on the same routes, many of which served the down- the National Academies, American Public Trans- town area; the drivers, who were dependent on fares portation Association (APTA), FTA, or Harrington- for their wages, competed for passengers, pulling Hughes & Associates, Inc. over to pick up anyone who flagged them down. The A list of the study team members is included in scramble for passengers led to chaotic traffic condi- Appendix A. A list of the public transport agencies tions, and more than a quarter of the traffic accidents and organizations with whom the team met is included in the city were caused by the buses. The average in Appendix B. A list of abbreviations is included in fleet age was 18 years, and security inside the buses Appendix C. was poor; riders were regularly accosted by thieves. Metrovia is based on a bus rapid transit (BRT) model that utilizes exclusive bus lanes, bus stops INTRODUCTION specifically designed for high-floor buses, transfer ter- The mission theme of "Managing Increasing minals, bus priority at traffic lights, and prepaid fares Ridership Demand" was selected to address recent to create an optimum experience for riders (Figure 1). ridership growth in the United States resulting from rising fuel prices, environmental issues, and Santiago, Chile economic concerns. Although an increase in rider- ship was welcome, many transit systems did not Santiago, Chile's capital, is located in the center have the infrastructure or resources in place to han- of the country. There are approximately 6 million res- dle the rapid influx of passengers. idents in the Greater Santiago Metropolitan Area. In The four cities in South America visited on this the 1970s, Chile's transit system was publicly oper- study mission were selected because they have faced ated. In the 1980s, the system transitioned to private and successfully dealt with similar challenges. They operation, but without regulation. In the 1990s, the have many similarities, as well as some significant privately operated system began to be regulated. differences. Each offered unique insight into manag- Currently, a private-public partnership operates the ing increasing transit ridership and provided varying Transantiago system, which is run by several differ- 2
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Figure 1 Metrovia BRT (Guayaquil). Figure 2 Transantiago "bip!" card. ent service providers. The system consists of BRT, the prepaid magnetic smartcards (known as the "bip!" feeder bus lines, and a metro. card) that were required of all riders (Figure 2). Planning for the system was influenced by politi- Transantiago staff had estimated that more than cians who wanted to reduce traffic congestion, 6,000 buses would be needed to serve the new routes, improve air quality, and consolidate the many private but only 4,000 buses were on the street when the new service providers into several large companies. A system opened that February. The bus contracts were one-fare structure approach for transit modes created weak, leaving Transantiago with no means of forcing unforeseen problems when implementing the new the bus companies to put more buses on the street. system. Political pressure to execute the plan before completion created major transportation problems for Buenos Aires, Argentina the passengers, who were not sufficiently informed of the new routes, schedules, and fares. Transit riders Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, has 3 mil- throughout the city had to change the way they trav- lion people. When the surrounding metropolitan eled through the system--and all changes occurred area is taken into account, the population totals on a single day. As one representative of Santiago put 13 million--equal to one-third of the country's pop- it, "Changing the way 6 million people travel is a cul- ulation. Daily transit ridership is 26 million, 75% of tural transformation, but we didn't design it as such; which are trips to and from work and school. we designed it as a transport project." Argentina has a long history of regulated public Planning and design for the Transantiago system transit. Originally, tramways, subways, and buses began in 2005, when new companies took control competed with one another, serving self-determined of the existing bus network. The transition to the routes, but with fares determined by the government. new system, which included a new fare structure, In 1928, colectivos (small buses not designed for new routes, and new infrastructure, was fully imple- public transportation service) appeared on the streets mented on a single day in February 2007. Immedi- and became immediately popular. Private operation ately, many problems became evident, causing the continued into the 1940s, when the government cre- media and others to refer to the opening day as the ated the state-owned "Transportes de Buenos Aires" "Transantiago Tsunami." One of the biggest prob- (TBA), which consisted of trolleybuses, metro, buses, lems was the fare payment validation system, which colectivos, and tramways. The state controlled transit failed, forcing Transantiago to offer free rides for a operations until 1961, at which time privatization of week. Transantiago also lacked a fleet management the urban system was initiated as a means of improv- system, an organized infrastructure, well-informed ing efficiency. operators, and an effective educational campaign for Since 1994, Metrovias (a private company) has riders. There were also too few reloading centers for held the concession to operate the city's subway, 3
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light rail line, and Urquiza railway line; in that time direction, low-level platforms, and no overtaking at period, ridership has almost doubled. In 2004, the bus stops. Several of the city's bus corridors that have national government began subsidizing the subway been experiencing high passenger volumes (exceed- service as a means of staving off a fare increase. ing 18,000 passengers per hour in each direction Today, the national government provides 60% of the in 2008) are frequently operating with long lines of funds for the metro's operations and maintenance. buses moving at slow speeds during the peak hours. From the 1999 master plan for the city emerged a "Master Plan for Collective Transportation." This Porto Alegre, Brazil plan looked to strengthen the city's bus transit net- With a population of 1.4 million people, Porto work through emphasizing a series of trunk and Alegre is the capital city of Brazil's southernmost feeder routes, with plans for implementing BRT on state, Rio Grande do Sul. The metropolitan area of some of the existing transit trunk corridors. BRT was Porto Alegre, which is Brazil's fourth largest metro- adopted because it was considered the best means of politan area, has a population of 4 million. attracting choice riders--that is, those with cars; its Empresa Pública de Transporte e Circulacão travel times are competitive with those of a private (EPTC), the city's public transportation agency, was automobile. A series of portals or terminals would created in January 1998 to regulate and monitor all feed outlying routes into trunk BRT services. BRT the activities related to transportation in Porto Alegre. was selected over light rail because of its lower infra- The system includes movements by car, rail, bus, taxi, structure cost. bike, and foot on roadways, public spaces, and rail- Porto Alegre's Portais da Cidade (City Gateways) ways. EPTC was empowered to be the mobility man- project is a BRT system that will run on top of reno- ager of Porto Alegre. vated existing busway facilities and will be comple- The challenge of managing and growing a total mented by interchange terminals and segments within system with multiple operators and public-private tunnels and on viaducts. Its first stage links the north/ agreements is significant. The bus system includes northeast sector to the south/southeast sector of Porto multiple trunk lines operated by a public bus com- Alegre, crossing the city center. The gateway con- pany linked to hundreds of independent bus opera- cept aggregates new functions in a terminal. In tors organized by private companies. Planning the addition to the usual integration of the BRT to con- structure of the bus system and managing the oper- necting bus services and other transportation modes ating agreements and daily enforcement activities, as (minibuses, cars, bicycles, and taxis), it will also well as managing the other modes of transportation, house service and retail activities. Car and bicycle contribute to the complex nature of EPTC's mandate. parking facilities provided within the terminal build- Its mission today focuses on constant improvement, ing will enable the integration of the BRT services using an approach that balances cost, quality, and with private transportation modes. The retail and demand. service areas located in the terminals will provide EPTC began its efforts by developing a plan amenities for both transportation users and neigh- focused on urban mobility strategies. A key theme borhood residents. in the strategies was linking transportation planning BRT lines will mostly operate along renovated to urban environmental planning. The challenge was busways using high-capacity articulated buses. Bus meeting the growing transportation demand in a sus- doors will provide multiple channels for simultane- tainable way. The agency knew that investing in the ous passenger boarding and alighting movements at roadway infrastructure was not a sustainable strat- the platforms. Along the BRT corridor, closed sta- egy; as soon as new roads were built and opened, tions will allow fares to be collected and verified they were immediately congested, which worsened before boarding, and platforms will be level with the air quality levels. bus floor, allowing easy access for all. The transfer Porto Alegre started to implement dedicated bus facilities will provide users with convenience, com- corridors in the late 1970s. With the exception of the fort, and security. recent corridor implemented along Terceira Avenida Portais da Cidade is an innovative project in the Perimetral (a 12-km long avenue connecting the field of urban bus transportation in Brazil as it is being northern and southern parts of the city), all other cor- conceived as a means to attract private investors, ridors are radial, with one median bus lane in each in addition to the existing bus operators, through a 4