Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The SITP's Empty Present...and Future?

Hello, is anybody in there?
I took these photos today of some of the first buses of Bogotá's much-vaunted and long-awaited Integrated System of Public Transit, or SITP. By having efficiently-designed routes and doing things like stopping only at official bus stops, the SITP is supposed to bring Bogotá clean, efficient and rational public transport by replacing the existing dirty, chaotic and inefficient private buses. (Unfortunately, however, I've observed that many of the SITP buses are also pretty polluting, despite still being new.)

But to accomplish those things, the SITPs will have to carry passengers. Every one I've seen has been empty, or nearly so. The main reason appears to be that the city has not retired the traditional buses which compete with the SITP's lines. (Altho that still begs the question of why so few passengers choose the SITP buses, which are presumably safer and more comfortable than the traditional ones.Also, you can always be sure of finding a seat!)

Is this yet another result of the bus companies' great influence over the city, which also appears to keep them invulnerable pollution and safety laws?

One good thing about the SITP - if it's actually implemented - will be the end of the murderous 'War for the Penny' in which those private buses race each other to pick up passengers for a few pesos. Just a few days ago a bus driver ran a red light, according to witnesses, and hit two children, killing one of them. Even tho the bus driver had millions of unpaid traffic fines and tried to flee the scene, police didn't jail him and he didn't lose his driver's license.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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