Santiago, Chile: When a Mass Transit Makeover Goes Awry

This article describes the failure of an ambitious plan to convert Santiago, Chile's mass transit system from an ad hoc, unregulated fleet of thousands of independent "micros" to a fully integrated conventional bus system that connected with the city's popular Metro. The political fallout from the failure is described, including resignations of major political figures, though not the country's two presidents who were in office for the planning and implementation. The pre-existing system is described, including the practice of fierce competition between micro drivers for passengers and speeding, chaotic commute trips where passengers could hail a ride from the curb. The events of February 10, 2007, the start date of full implementation for Plan Transantiago (as the plan was called) are described. They included huge crowds in the Metro, which had previously been considered the "quality" ride, long lines in intersections as passengers waited for buses, and near-riots by commuters trying to force buses to stop and pick them up. Fare evasion was widespread, from 30 to 60 percent of fares not being paid, according to estimates, and service deteriorated from a lack of buses and badly designed routes.

  • Authors:
    • Gilbert, Richard
  • Publication Date: 2008-5


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Photos;
  • Pagination: pp 48, 50, 52, 56-57
  • Serial:
    • Metro Magazine
    • Volume: 104
    • Issue Number: 4
    • Publisher: Metro Magazine

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01100547
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: UC Berkeley Transportation Library
  • Files: BTRIS, TRIS
  • Created Date: May 8 2008 2:37PM