Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Transit Initiative Which Works

A bicyclist shares the bus lane (legally) on Carrera Septima.
I had deep doubts whether Petro's latest transit initiative, a bus lane on Carrera Septima, would actually work. The idea is good in principle - an inexpensive way to speed public transit by getting private cars - the least efficient form of transport - out of the way.
Solid buses. On this stretch, cars stayed out.

But would Bogotá drivers - not known for discipline and respecting laws - actually stay out of the bus lane? On a previous visit to Carrera Septima I didn't see much evidence of the bus lane in practice. But yesterday, between about 70th and 90th streets, it actually appeared to be operating.

Of course, it's also possible that these lanes are nearly bus-only all the time. Or, that drivers will start invading the lane once their fear of the hefty fine, implemented this week, wears off.

But this taxi shouldn't be here.
Still, city officials said that the policy has sped up traffic in the lane by 3 kms per hour. That migh not sound like a lot, but it could get you home for dinner or that TV show 20 minutes earlier. The city now plans to create bus-only lanes on other major avenues.

The contrast of this budget transit scheme with the city's multi-billion subway construction plan - which may never even actually happen - couldn't be greater.

When it comes to buses, green isn't always clean.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


Kathryn Jacoby said...

Hey, love the positivity! Fingers crossed! And the only reason drivers will stop fearing the fine will be if transit authorities give them a reason not to fear it... that is by letting incompetence and indifference take over and make them not enforce their own laws and punishments.

Miguel said...

How many laws here are dead letter? The law against stopping cars inside intersections, against selling 'loosie' cigarettes, against cigarette advertising, pollution laws...stop me before I go crazy.