Bogota Buses

Mexico City     The subway has been a pleasant surprise in Mexico City. We took Linea 2 up to the Zocalo on Saturday night so the leaders could see the heart of the city and then walked back through the Alameda to the hotel. Victor Torres, the head organizer of Mexico City ACORN, says that of course Linea 2 is the “new” line, so perhaps our new found admiration is too quickly achieved. The cost was about 20 cents USD or 2 pesos, and competes with the price in Buenos Aires.

Not every city can accommodate mass transit underground because of terrain or costs. Bogota created an interesting alternative as the pictures with this piece illustrate. They used their “neutral ground” (as we call it in New Orleans) and produced a rapid set of bus lanes and protected bus waiting areas and walking bridges so that huge double-buses could use the expressways unimpeded. Not only did this system beat the traffic jams (we sat in our bus and watched the public buses speed by!), but it seemed clean, efficient, and popular. The buses were frequent but jammed packed!

I have heard from Ercilia Sahores, ACORN Latin America Director, that Mexico City has copied this, but I haven’t seen it yet, and I’m not sure where in this giant, world’s largest city contender, that they may have located these bus lines. Regardless, this seems like an alternative for various cities that engineer the lanes and the afford the buses to provide accessible, affordable, quick, and more environmentally adaptable mass transit at a fraction of the price that subway systems entail.

Food for thought.

protective waiting area
bus picking up passengers
people inside waiting area waiting for the next bus

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