Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - urban, mode - mass transit


Urban transportation, Transit, Santiago (Chile), Public transit, Mass transit, Local transit, Intracity transportation


Since 1978, a policy of public transport deregulation has been applied in Chile, which has been extensively commented upon in several articles related to the topic. This experience, whose main errors consisted of misinterpreting deregulation as the absolute absence of market rules and pretending that the basic productive unit in the public transport market is a vehicle instead of a service, had serious consequences on the development of the activity, particularly in the city of Santiago. In 1989, after 11 years of applying such a policy, the number of vehicles had doubled (at the same time reducing the transport capacity per vehicle), the fares more than doubled in real terms, the cartel of operators was strengthened, the external effects were strongly increased (traffic congestion, pollution and accidents) and so the contemporary view of the population in relation to public transport had become totally negative. On the other hand, the areal coverage of the system increased, thus reducing the waiting and walking times. This article presents the experience of the Ministry's technical team in the modernization process of the transport sector, at the arrival of the democratic government: the creation of rules for the activity, the entrepreneurial transformation, the use of evaluation polls to take into account users' opinions towards the actions taken, the auctioning of the routes for the operation of the services, the establishment of standards for the emission of pollutants and the generation of a strategic plan to carry out the changes.