|TM buses in San Victorino. Why can't it be better?|
Bogotá's Transmilenio is a pretty good system. Cheaper and faster to build than a subway, bus rapid transit is also more flexible to operate. Today, TM covers much more of Bogotá than would an underground alternative. And - soon, hopefully - Bogotá will have two more TM lines, along Calle 26 and Carrera 10.
Here, however, are several perplexing, infuriating aspects of TM, which I've never comprehended:
(Thanks to Alex Hutchinson for suggestions)
Why doesn't TM operate on natural gas?
|Not for Bogotá buses?|
I've heard various rationalizations for the use of diesel, none of which sound very convincing. Someone suggested that the very large gas tanks might lend themselves to terrorist attacks. But I've never heard of this happening anywhere, and the diesel buses' tanks, which are pretty big, have never been used that way.
Natural gas engines also have less power than diesel ones do. But TM's routes are pretty flat. And Medellin is incorporating natural gas buses - despite its hills.
But, as long as TM continues to use diesel, can't they at least enforce pollution laws, pretty please?
|A belching TM bus along Jimenez Ave. gases pedestrians.|
|Directing traffic while trying not to breathe along polluted and chaotic Carrera 10, which will soon have a TM line. But how much cleaner will it be?|
Why don't they put bike racks at every station?
|What's so hard about this?|
A bike rack at a train station
in Stevenage, England.
Sure, there'd be a danger of theft. But bicyclists would understand that they were parking at their own risk.
|A sophisticated, expensive and little-used bike parking building near Las Aguas TM station.|
|No place to park. A cyclist pases San Victorino TM station, which has no bicycle parking.|
|It's on the Internet. Why not inside buses, too?¿|
Why don't they sell multiple tickets at a discount?
|Faster by the dozen? Passengers|
line up to by tickets, many one at a time.
I once asked a TM official this question. He told me they'd tried it, but as a result people had bought the multiple tickets and resold them individually for a small profit (Similar to the minuto sellers all over Colombia). And so what? These resellers were doing a service for TM and for its passengers.
Why don't TM buses get priority at intersections?
|TM buses waiting at a light on Caracas Ave.|
|Green light means go? Not for these TM buses blocked at Carrera 10.|
While planners debate expensive issues like what do on on Ave. Septima and whether or not to build a metro system, some cheap, quick changes could do lots to make Bogotá's mass transit faster and more convenient.
|Not in Bogotá?|
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours