Sunday, January 22, 2012

There's an app for that!

Bogotá has grown very rapidly over the last 20 years, and is one of the 30 biggest cities in the world, with 9 million inhabitants.  Only about 15% of the people have cars, but traffic was getting worse and worse.  In the late 90's, a Duke graduate named Enrique Penalosa was elected mayor, and set to work.  
Looking around the world, he realized that not only were bikes good, but mass transit was needed.  However, most models were way too expensive - light rail costs $200 million/kilometer, and needs about $2 per rider.  The solution was "BRT," or Bus Rapid Transit!
In December of 2000, the TransMilenio system was opened to the public.
The TransMilenio consists of articulated (great big red) buses, which operate on dedicated lanes between what look for all the world like subway stations.
The ridership is incredible, moving over 1.6 million people per day.  It carries over twice as many people per day as either Chicago's El system of DC's Metro.  It is so popular that people jokingly call it the "TransMilleno," lleno meaning "full."  It has been said that if you were to die on the TransMilenio, you probably wouldn't fall down for about three days.  Paula asked me to point out that the picture below could actually have been taken during several of the trips we've made.
There are some pretty cool bridges over the roadways to get to the stations
from which we saw a pretty cool car crash yesterday, but that's a whole 'nother story.
It's actually a great system, as long as you avoid getting your pocket picked, and we've brought home curtain rods, a rug, a new broom, light fixtures, etc.  However, the route planner is a real headache, and it would take about 30 minutes planning just to figure which buses to ride.
One day, while hearing me whine while I had the system planner spread out on the floor, Paula looked online and.... there's an app for that!
No kidding!  You just put it on your iPod/Phone/Pad, choose where you want to board and disembark, and it tells you, "Take the D3 out, and the H3 back," etc.  Unbelievable!
Anyway, we hope there's an app for whatever you need, too!
Dave & Paula

1 comment:

bestgrandkidsever said...

We've been squished on buses like that--only with three little kids! And when Alan was traveling the island, it was just me and the kids twice on Sundays! I'm just glad we always got home with the same kids with which we left!