Unlike in Delhi, Bogota BRT system a running success
After trying alternatives for decades, Bogota’s Bus Rapid Transit system got it right
Delhi is not alone when it comes to trying out different means to find a solution to public transport issues in a metropolis. Cities around the world have tried different methods, and few have also been able to create infrastructure that has now become an inspiration for others to follow.
The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Bogota, Columbia, is a case in point.
After trying alternatives for over four decades, TransMilenio — Bogota’s BRT system — was opened for public in 2000. It has certain unique features, making the initiative a huge success.
Over 1.6 million people use the current network of 84 km spread over nine lines. Unlike Delhi BRT, Bogota’s dedicated system comprises two lanes on each side. Both local and express buses ply on TransMilenio.
Two types of services
While local buses move in the inner lane, stopping at all bus stations, the express ones ply on the outer lane, skipping at least four to five stops on their way. Unlike staggered bus shelters in Delhi BRT, Bogota’s network has island platforms built on a central verge that serve passengers on both sides. Like a subway system, the elevated station platform — with screen doors — and the bus floor are at the same height.
The bus and station doors open simultaneously, allowing passengers to board simply by walking across the threshold. The system is also beneficial for wheel-bound commuters.
While the provision of at-grade crossing for commuters near bus shelters has come under criticism in Delhi BRT, a foot overbridge connects both sides of the Bogota BRT network to the island bus stations on the central verge.
The entire network of TransMilenio is monitored by a central control room on the lines of an air traffic control room.
With monitoring technology like Global Positioning System and General Packet Radio Service, the movement of each bus is monitored by officials to avoid crowding of buses. Buses used in Bogota BRT are also articulated and thus have a higher capacity to ferry passengers.
Like Delhi Metro, fare collection system in TransMilenio is automatic. Users pay at the bus station’s entrance with a smart card, go through a turnstile and await the arrival of the bus inside the station.
A unique feature of TransMilenio is the feeder bus service, which takes people from the neighbourhood to the main bus station free of cost. Moreover, the Bogota BRT also provides parking facilities for those who come halfway by their own vehicles.