Friday, May 11, 2018

A Respite for Bogotá's Breathers?

A TransMilenio bus belches its way thru central Bogotá
recently. How much cleaner will the new buses be?
In a small victory for clean air, Mayor Peñalosa increased the advantage zero-pollution buses will receive in the bidding for a new fleet for TransMilenio from 50 to 400 points.

Unfortunately, I can't discover anywhere how many total points we're talking about: Are we talking about 400 points out of a thousand, or 400 points out of a million?

But apparently the 400 points are significant, since Peñalosa promised that thanks to them many of the 1,000-plus new buses will be Euro 6: basically electric or naural gas powered.

That will be a relief for us breathers, since many of the older TM buses are veritable 'rolling chimneys' because they've exceeded their planned mileage and obviously have neither been maintained or equipped with filters.

Electric buses, at least, can never pollute, no matter how old they get or how badly they're neglected. (And, because Colombia's electricity is mostly hydroelectric, it generates relatively little greenhouse gas.)

The clean buses will cost more to buy, (altho less to maintain), and they will also require the installation of new infrastructure in TM statiions. So, they'll be expensive up front, but will save Bogotanos untold amounts in health expenditures and human suffering, as well as the economic benefits from increased tourism and businesses' willingness to move to a cleaner, more pleasant city.

But that makes me ask: If City Hall is willing to go to that expense and effort to make TM cleaner, why not bother to sanction monstrosities like this bus I saw yesterday belching its way up Calle 19?

Or this truck I spotted smoking away today along on Calle 13 near the train station?

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


Stuart Oswald said...

I agree with your concern. But you do know that the colour of the fumes is not a telling indication of how dangerous it can be. In too many cases environmentalists leave facts behind their emotions.

Bogotá Bike Tours said...

You're correct Stuart that the fumes' color doesn't necessarily indicate their damage. However, it is a fair bet that black fumes are full of damaging particles. It's the white or transparent fumes which also sicken us, but don't cause the same alarm.