Bus Rapid Transit: Is Transmilenio a Miracle Cure?


Alan Gilbert

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - urban, mode - bus, mode - bus rapid transit


Urban transportation policy, Under developed countries, TransMilenio, Third world, Public opinion, Less developed countries, Developing countries, Case studies, Bus rapid transit, Bogota (Colombia)


Successful mass transit solutions are rare in poor cities. When they appear they are lauded across the globe and too often copied uncritically. The latest exemplar of such best practice is the 'Transmilenio' rapid bus system in Bogot. The article describes its main characteristics and applauds the improvements that it has already brought to urban transport in Bogot. Naturally, the system is not without its flaws and these need to be drawn to the attention of those who might copy the Bogot example. This is particularly important at the present time when the jewel of Bogot has come under surprisingly strong local criticism over its cost, its ownership structure, its decreasing effectiveness and, fundamentally, because it has failed to solve the transport chaos of Bogot. There is a real danger that 'Transmilenio' will stagnate as its popularity declines and as demands for a metro increase. Given the strengths of the system that would be something of a disaster and, most certainly, not in the interests of the poor.