The Chilean government has set aside $1 billion to bolster the public transport system in the capital Santiago. Constructing separate lanes for buses ferrying people to and from Santiago’s International Airport and adding more bus routes are the major components of the plan unveiled by President Michelle Bachelet last week.
Under the program, the government will also repave and widen 10 important roads connecting remote parts of the city to the central business districts. There are also plans to set up Wi-Fi hotspots along the bus route.
Santiago’s public transport system, known locally as Transantiago, received a major boost during Bachelet’s first term in office (2006-2010). The overhaul was considered the most ambitious transport reform undertaken by a developing country.
The system combines local (feeder) bus lines, main bus lines and the Metro (subway) network, but it never satisfied passengers, who often complained of the lack of buses and their inconsistent frequencies.
Bachelet now plans to reduce commuting times by introducing separate lanes for buses, the primary mode of public transportation in the South American country. The bus-only lane, to be built between the city and the airport, will be about 18 kilometers long, Bachelet said.
“We’re aware of the deficiencies and the complaints about Transantiago. Over the past two months, the (transportation) minister and his team have devoted themselves to analyzing the problems and looked for solutions,” Bachelet said, according to I Love Chile.
Transantiago became fully operational on February 10, 2007 with the introduction of a new route system dividing bus lines into two complementary groups: main and local lines.