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Porto Alegre's livability by providing and manag- These three operating consortiums run approximately ing urban mobility effectively and efficiently while 1,600 buses with 10% or so of buses being replaced meeting the needs of the population in support of each year. environmentally sustainable development. As the mobility manager for Porto Alegre, EPTC regulates INCREASES IN RIDERSHIP and monitors all modes of transportation including the road network (and the traffic signal system), Guayaquil, Ecuador buses, taxis, school buses, minibuses (called lotaco), Prior to the Metrovia system, individual opera- and the electronic fare system. Their vision is to tors owned the buses, a system that operated similar become the model for urban mobility with values to a taxi service. This service was described as the that include courtesy, accountability, and a desire for guerra del centavo, or the "fight to catch the fare." continuous improvement. With 83% of the population using public transporta- EPTC determines which bus operator will run on each route and defines the schedules in concert tion, the competition to capture as many riders as with the private operators. By working closely with possible was fierce because the fares collected were the provider, EPTC can determine exactly what the operators' incomes. changes need to be made and where. This generally To maximize their share of the market, operators results in more efficient service and reduces the stopped whenever they saw a customer waiting for a probability of a fare increase to cover the cost of pro- bus, and riders could get off anywhere they wanted, viding service. making the service very convenient. Riders paid The Association of Transportation Providers of US$0.25 per ride in cash to board and alight at any Porto Alegre (ATP) gathers information from 14 bus point along the street. Buses stopped at a moment's operators forming three consortiums that operate notice and operated with the doors open to allow for 80% of Porto Alegre's bus service. The remaining quick boarding and alighting. Travel time was unpre- 20% is operated by a public company. ATP is led by dictable due to variations in stops and passenger a president and three vice presidents, one from each requests. Buses weaving in traffic to pick up and consortium. Public transport in Brazil is not subsi- drop off riders were cited as the cause of a quarter of dized in any way. ATP looks for creative ways to the city's traffic accidents. Operators carried cash, operate the services so the entire system can be and operators and riders were often robbed aboard supported by revenue from fares. Any proposed the buses. improvements must be self supporting. ATP's con- An operator typically worked 12 to 14 hours a tract with the local government must be renewed day. The average age of a bus was 18 years, with every 2 years. some buses still in service at 30 years. Vehicles were Previously, bus operators ran a network of routes poorly maintained and emitted high levels of pollu- and set the fares for those routes. Operators would tion. The operators were responsible for maintaining compete with each other on the same routes. The the vehicle, but the revenue collected was not suffi- three consortiums, created on the basis of geographic cient to cover all costs; maintaining the older buses areas, were formed to reduce the predatory actions was particularly onerous. A third of the buses carried between operators. While one consortium operates in fewer than 50 passengers. Some areas of the city a single geographic area, the public company oper- were underserved or not served at all. ates in all three consortium areas and actually has the With the introduction of Metrovia, which was most productive routes. much safer and more secure and which ran on a reli- Decisions within the consortium are made either able schedule, riders readily made the switch to the by consensus or by using a decision matrix. The BRT and feeder buses. Initially, the feeder buses 14 operating companies that make up these consor- were overwhelmed by demand, and there was some tiums provide the buses and drivers, and it is their confusion about how the system would operate. responsibility to make buses available and in good More than 800 buses previously operated by the pri- operating condition. The consortium makes sure each vate collectives were removed from the streets when of the 14 operators has a balanced system of routes Metrovia began operating. Where there had been to allow for comparable amounts of revenue collec- 300 independent operators, now there were two con- tion and to provide revenue to match their expenses. sortiums. The fare remained at US$0.25. 7
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When the first BRT line opened, it consisted of day, leading to a moratorium on bus fares until the a total of 40 articulated buses, each bus carrying problems could be addressed. approximately 3,000 passengers each day. Today Given that Metro de Santiago was a separate Metrovia carries 300,000 passengers per day on its transportation entity with minimal involvement in two lines, and a third line is planned to open in 2011. the bus network change, they did not fully anticipate how the Transantiago changes would affect the rail system. Two years prior, in 2005, the "bip!" smart- Santiago, Chile card had been introduced to rail customers, and cash During the 1990s and into the early 2000s, dis- was no longer accepted as a form of payment on the satisfaction with the system of regulated private Metro. Large numbers of bus riders, frustrated by buses increased, auto usage increased, and govern- the confusing new bus routes and being forced to use ment officials decided that a new approach to provid- the bip! card on the buses, decided to use Metro ing bus service in Santiago was needed. Politicians instead; its fixed-rail routing system and well- wanted to be responsive to this dissatisfaction, as marked transfer points made it an attractive option. well as find a way to reduce traffic congestion. The Overnight, ridership on the Metro doubled, from congestion was increasingly causing buses to be 1.4 million to 2.5 million daily weekday rides. delayed. In addition, the prosperous economy resulted in higher levels of automobile ownership, and all Buenos Aires, Argentina those new cars on the streets of the city interfered with the efficient flow of buses. A new system was When Metrovias assumed control of the Buenos envisioned that would provide high levels of bus ser- Aires subway in 1994, it inherited a system that had vice on major corridors and more efficient boarding severe capital infrastructure needs and a poor public through the use of dedicated bus lanes and prepaid image--riders did not consider the system as either fares. The new service would be called "Transanti- efficient or reliable. Since then, ridership has almost ago" and would have as its goals improving the city's doubled, but the network is insufficient for the cur- bus services, reducing congestion and pollution, and rent demand. relieving ridership pressures on the overtaxed Metro In 2001, an electronic farecard was introduced, de Santiago system. giving Metrovias for the first time a means of track- The planning and design of Transantiago started ing passenger demand and adjusting supply to meet in October 2005, and the new system was launched that demand. When there are more than six passen- on a single day--February 10, 2007. Previously, ser- gers per square meter in the system, the supply is vice was provided by thousands of independent bus increased, if possible. Today, more than one mil- operators providing independent, redundant, and lion passengers are carried each day on the subway. inefficient service. The smartcard was used by rail To accommodate the higher loads, trains have been customers only; it was not integrated with the bus increased to six cars (up from four); because of the system. short platform lengths, trains cannot be longer than On its opening day, Transantiago introduced six cars. both a new bus route network and a new fare system with insufficient equipment, minimal public infor- Porto Alegre, Brazil mation, and not enough operators trained in the new system. This created an extremely chaotic environ- Although Porto Alegre was not initially a ment. The bus stops were flooded with people trying planned city, as the city grew its planning focused to board the buses, but who weren't even sure which on accommodating growth through transportation bus they needed to take. improvements that would connect and integrate new Transantiago was nationally and internationally development with existing neighborhoods without criticized for its lack of planning and the poorly coor- destroying their ambience. dinated implementation of the new system. Although Public transit currently has a 39.5% mode share the staff was concerned about the readiness of the in Porto Alegre. Ridership has declined in recent system before the start date, outside factors made it years as fare increases have exceeded the inflation impossible to delay the launch. As a result, some rate. Although its rate of car and motorcycle owner- aspects of the system were not functional on the first ship is low compared with the United States, the 8