TransMilenio is a bus rapid transit (BRT) system that serves Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, and Soacha, a neighbouring city. The system opened to the public in December 2000. As of 2022, 12 lines totalling 114.4 km (71 mi) run throughout the city.[1] It is part of the city's Integrated Public Transport System (Sistema Integrado de Transporte Público [SITP] in Spanish), along with the urban, complementary and special bus services operating on neighbourhood and main streets.

Transmilenio logo
TransMilenio logo
OwnerCities of Bogotá and Soacha
LocaleBogotá and Soacha, Colombia
Transit type
Number of lines12[1]
Line number
Phase I
Phase II
Phase III
Number of stations152[1]
Daily ridership1.8 million (weekday 2022)[1]
Annual ridership574.5 million (2023)[2]
Began operationDecember 2000
  • Consorcio Express
  • Gmovil
  • BMO Sur
  • Connexion Móvil
  • Somos K
  • SI18
  • Somos Bogotá Usme
CharacterAt-grade street running
Number of vehicles2364 articulated and 948 feeder buses[1]
System length114.4 km (71 mi)[1]
System map

Calle 100 station

TransMilenio consists of several interconnected BRT lines, with raised floor stations in the center of a main avenue, or "troncal". Passengers typically reach the stations via a bridge over the street. Usually four lanes down the center of the street are dedicated to bus traffic. The outer lanes allow express buses to bypass buses stopped at a station.

As of the 4th quarter of 2021, 1,759 buses on average were circulating on the trunk line system. An additional set of 800[2] regular buses, known as "feeders" (alimentadores in Spanish), carry passengers from certain important stations to many different locations that the main route does not reach. Unlike the main TransMilenio buses, feeders operate without dedicated lanes, are not articulated and are either green or blue (regular TransMilenio buses are red). There is no additional fare to use the feeder buses.

There are 22 bicycle parking facilities in main TransMilenio stations with 6,059 parking spaces to facilitate cyclists using the system.[1]

8 BRT corridors were certified in 2013 to meet the BRT STANDARD with excellence: Autonorte and Caracas silver, Americas, Calle 80, Eldorado, NQS and Suba gold.[3]

History edit

Background edit

Before TransMilenio, Bogotá's mass transit "system" consisted of thousands of independently operated and uncoordinated mini buses. There was also a plan for a network of elevated highways throughout Bogotá, and plans to build a subway as Medellín had done seven years prior. When Enrique Peñalosa was elected mayor he cancelled these projects and oversaw the construction of the initial TransMilenio system at a fraction of the cost.[4]

Construction and opening edit

The mayor created a special company to build the project and run the central system. The operational design of TransMilenio was undertaken by transport consultants Steer Davies Gleave with the financial structuring of the project led by Capitalcorp S.A., a local investment bank. Most of the money required to build TransMilenio was provided by the Colombian central government, while the city of Bogotá provided the remaining 30%.[5]

Within three years after the initiation of the project, the first phase opened in December 2000, covering Caracas Avenue and 80 street. Other lines were added gradually over the next several years. Prior to construction, a 30 km trip by public transport would take 2 hours and 15 minutes in 1998; the same trip using TransMilenio now takes 55 minutes.[4]

In the beginning most buses were diesel-powered, purchased from such manufacturers as the Colombian-Brazilian company Marcopolo-Superior, German conglomerate Mercedes-Benz, and Swedish companies such as Volvo and Scania. The buses were articulated and had a capacity of 160 passengers each. In May 2007, a new, larger bi-articulated bus, with capacity for 270 passengers, was presented to the public.

Bogotá won the first Sustainable Transport Award in 2005 thanks to the BRT system and urban cycling strategy.

On May 2 and 3, 2006, several groups of bus drivers not associated with TransMilenio held a strike, protesting against some elements and consequences of the system. They disagreed with the amount of monetary compensation that they would receive in exchange for the disposal of old buses (10 to more than 20 years old), traffic restrictions on the TransMilenio main lines, and a new Pico y Placa Ambiental in some city areas, that would restrict the schedules of buses older than 10 years to early morning hours to reduce pollution in the city.[6]

Construction of Line K on 26 Avenue

Since the May 2006 expansion, the TransMilenio route system has changed dramatically, with new sections added to the system.

Due to the relatively high price, overcrowding, and delays in the routes hundreds of people, mostly students protesting and some vandals looted and broke windows on March 9, 2012, causing half a million dollars of damage and 11 injuries. The vandals were confronted and detained by riot police.[7]

Bogotá won the Sustainable Transport Award again in 2022 also thanks to the continued expansion and success of TransMilenio.[8][9] [10]

Infrastructure edit

TransMilenio has 12 lines serving 152 stations in the cities of Bogotá and Soacha:

Transmilenio system map as of February 2019

Instead of being numbered, routes have a combination of letters and numbers. In order to fill the information gap, TransMilenio made available an interactive guide that includes routes, stations, nearby places and route combinations.[11]

Construction of a new line in Carrera 7 (North-Downtown) is under consideration. This has been criticized as there are certain locations where the system might not fit.

Vehicles edit

Bi-articulated bus on Avenida Jiménez

TransMilenio buses are not equipped with transponders to give them priority at traffic signals; regret over this fact was voiced by former general manager of the system, Angelica Castro.[12]

Stations edit

TransMilenio bus at a station

There are six types of stations:

  • Sencillas (Simple): local service stations, located approximately every 500 m
  • De transferencia (Transfer): allow transfer between different lines through a tunnel
  • Sin intercambio (No transfer): do not allow transfer between lanes (north-south, south-north, west-east, east-west); located in the Autopista Norte (due to a stretch of the road), Tunal and 6th Street ramification (due to water channels).
  • Intermedias (Intermediate): service both feeder and trunk line.
  • Cabecera (Portal): near the entrances to the city. In addition to feeders and articulated buses, intercity buses from the metropolitan area also arrive at these stations.
  • Paraderos bus dual (dual-bus stop): located in the streets, these stops don't have turnstiles, electronic boards and the floor level is the same of the street; served by buses with station-level and street-level doors. These stops are located in the pretrunk corridors (AK 7, AV Caracas, AV Suba, AC 80, AV El Dorado).

All stations have electronic boards announcing the approximate arrival time of the next bus. Wait times are short as there is usually a bus serving the station. There are also station attendants to provide assistance to the passengers, and posted system maps.

Users pay at the station entrance using a smart card, pass through a turnstile, and wait for buses inside the station, which is typically 5 m wide.[12] The bus and station doors open simultaneously, and passengers board by simply walking across the threshold. The elevated station platform and the bus floor are at the same height.

TransMilenio stations comply with easy access regulations because they are elevated and have ramps leading to the entrance. The alimentadores (feeders) are normal buses without handicapped accessibility. A lawsuit by disabled user Daniel Bermúdez caused a ruling that all feeder systems must comply with easy access regulations by 2004, but this has not happened yet.

Services edit

Bus plan at the Transversal 86 station in 2009
Articulated bus on route H13 in Avenida Caracas
Dual bus driving the M86 route at the Airport
TransMilenio bus taking the L18 route on the North Highway

The zoning divides the trunks into 12 lines or zones that have different letters and colors. The maps changed at each station, to show the specific services to the station in question and the way to reach the other zones of the system from there.

The trunk system has three types of services:

  • Regular Routes (Ruta Fácil): These are the numbered routes from 1 to 9 that stop at all stations and work all day. As of August 2008, this type of service was called the Easy Route. On June 17, 2017 these services were modified, replacing the routes that operated since 2006 by shorter trails, in addition to a change of nomenclature, which did not include the letter and the color of the destination area.
  • Express (Expreso): Routes that only stop at the stations determined in their route, and are numbered from 10 to 75.
  • Dual bus trunk (Troncal Bus Dual): Routes to extend the TransMilenio trunk service to arteries, beginning with the Carrera Séptima.
Services rendered since April 29, 2006
Type North routes South routes
Regular Routes (Ruta Fácil)
All day
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Express Every day
All Day
B10 K10 B12 B75 C15 C19 D22 M47 D10 F19 G12 G22 G47 H15 H75 L10
Express Monday to Saturday
All day
B11 B13 B16 B18 B23 B72 B74 C17 D20 D21 D24 B44 J23 K43 K54 M51 F23 F51 G11 G43 G44 H13 H17 H20 H21 H54 H72 J24 J74 K16 K23 L18
Express Monday to Friday
Peak morning time
A52 B52 B55 B56 D50 E32 J70 J73
Express Monday to Friday
Peak evening time
C73 F32 F62 G52
Express Monday to Saturday
Peak morning time
B28 B71 D51 G45 F28 G45
Express Monday to Friday
Peak morning and evening time
B27 B28 B50 C29 C30 G45 C50 F28 F29 G30 G45 H27 H73
Express Saturdays
from 5:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
C30 G30
Express Sundays
All day
K42 G42
Dual Every day
All day
C84D81M82M83M86 H83K86L82M81M84
Alimentador - Intermunicipal 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 1.10 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.7 2.8 2.10 2.11 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 3.10 3.11 3.13 4.1 4.2 4.3 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 6.12 7.1 7.2 7.3 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 9.9 9.10 9.11 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.3C 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.8 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 11.8 11.9 11.10 12.1 13.6 13.7 13.9 13.10 13.12 13.13 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 16.7 16.8 16.9 16.10 16.13 16.14

Fares and tickets edit

The fare as of 2023 is 2,950 Colombian pesos for a single trip (about €0.7 or US$0.75).[13] Cards use a contactless smart card (MIFARE) system, and multiple trips may be purchased using one card.

Fare of TransMilenio[14][15]
Year Rush hour COP Regular hour COP
2023 $2950
2022 $2650
2021 $2500
2020 $2500
2019 $2400
2018 $2300
2017 $2200
2016 $2000
2015 $1800
2014 $1800 $1500
2013 $1700 $1400
2012 $1700
2011 $1750
2010 $1700
2009 $1600
2008 $1500
2007 $1400
2006 $1300
2005 $1200
2004 $1200
2003 $1100
2002 $1000
October 2001 $900
February 2001 $850
2000 $800

Costs, ridership, and impact edit

According to a United States Transportation Research Board (TRB) case study report, the initial construction cost for the first phase of 41 km was US $240 million, or US $5.9 million/km. In a report presented later by the Ministry of Transport of Colombia, the total cost of the construction of Transmilenio phase one was estimated at 1.4 billion COP (about US$703 million), of which 253.053 million COP (about US$126.5 million) was provided by the Colombian government. The construction of the phase two was estimated at 3.2 billion COP (about US$1634 million), of which 2.1 billion COP (about US$1058 million) was provided by the Colombian government and the rest was provided by the city. The numbers of this report are calculated in money of 2009.[16]

The system is overseen by a public body, which awards contracts to private bus companies on a competitive basis. According to TRB, private contractors are paid based on the total number of kilometers that their vehicles operate.[17]

Daily ridership quickly reached 800,000 after the system opened. TransMilenio has since been expanded. Ridership in early 2006 was 1,050,000 daily, in 2009 it was 1,400,000 daily and in September 2018 it was 2.4 million on a weekday.[1]

Other cities are building systems modelled on Transmilenio, for example, Mexico City,[18] and Transantiago in Santiago, Chile, but the difference is that in these cities the system is complemented with a Rapid transit system.

Controversies edit

Users lining up to access Calle 100 Station, due to overcrowding
Pepe Sierra station at rush hour

In 2016, Transmilenio had an 86% disapproval rating from users.[19] User strikes erupted over bad service quality, with users blocking bus lanes and at times halting the entire system.[20] These protests sometimes devolved into riots involving heavy police presence and the use of crowd control measures such as tear gas and water cannons.[21]

The system was described by users, independent bodies and the media as suffering from overcrowding with an average of eight passengers per square meter,[22][23] insecurity[24][25] and providing bad customer service. During rush hours, "stations are so packed that people can't get off the bus". In some stations the overcrowding was so severe that users had to wait in a long line to top up the Smart card and in another line to enter the station.[26] According to official data in 2017, there were 3404 thefts in TransMilenio stations and 1442 more on buses.[27]

The bad image and quality of the system caused an increase in the number of cars and motorcycles in the city. Citizens preferred these means of transport over the TransMilenio. According to official data, the number of cars increased from approximately 666,000 in 2005 to 1,586,700 in 2016; the number of motorcycles also grew. 660,000 were sold in Bogota in 2013, twice the number of cars sold.[28]

During construction there were problems with the concrete used to pave the dedicated roads, which had an estimated cost to the city of 1.6 trillion pesos (500 million dollars). In 2012 Bogota's secretary of finance said that the whole line of Avenida Caracas should be rebuilt as well as some parts of the Avenida 26 line.[29]

Air pollution edit

In 2015 a study made by the National University of Colombia revealed that 70% of the air pollution near Transmilenio exits was caused by the buses of the first phase.[30] According to official data, more than 50% of the first and second phase buses were hazardous for the environment because they broke atmospheric emissions rules.[27] There was also a big controversy around the fact that the Transmilenio buses were diesel-powered [31] Some academics, councillors and citizens called the buses dangerous since diesel fuels were carcinogens according to the World Health Organization,[32] and pointed out calls to ban them in other cities like Stuttgart and Stockholm. The new fleet might solve the problem (see below).

Sexual assaults edit

Women in Bogotá have stated that the overcrowding in the system makes it easy for criminals to attack women and go unnoticed.[33] According to a 2012 survey conducted by the Secretary for Women's Issues of Bogotá, 64% of women said they have been victims of sexual assault in the system.[34] Several policies have been adopted in order to confront this problem, like an exclusive bus for women,[35] and special undercover policewomen,[36] but none of them have been effective against the problem, and sexual assaults continue to occur in 2018.[37][38][39]

Broken buses edit

In 2017 and 2018 many incidents with Transmilenio buses had been reported while they were operating. There had been cases of buses being burned due to mechanical problems,[40] one bus broken in half,[41] tires flying off the buses and hitting cars,[42][43] and users reporting that water leaks into the buses when it rains.[44] The new fleet might solve the problem (see below).

New fleet edit

At the end of 2018 Transmilenio ordered 1383 new buses as a replacement of the older ones in service. 52% were compressed natural gas (CNG) buses made by Scania with Euro 6 emission rating, 48% were diesel engine made by Volvo with Euro 5 emission rating. More orders have produced an impressive result: "To improve public and environmental health, the City of Bogotá has assembled a fleet of 1,485 electric buses for its public transportation system—placing the city among the three largest e-bus fleets outside of China."[45][46]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Transmilenio en cifras febrero 2023". TransMilenio (in Spanish). 2022-05-27. Retrieved 2023-06-30.
  2. ^ a b "Boletín Técnico Encuesta de Transporte Urbano de Pasajeros (ETUP) IV trimestre de 2023" (PDF). Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística (DANE) (in Spanish). 2024-02-14. Retrieved 2024-04-03.
  3. ^ "BRT Rankings - Institute for Transportation and Development Policy". 24 July 2014. Retrieved 2022-09-07.[title missing]
  4. ^ a b "Bus Rapid Transit: Bogotá". StreetFilms.
  5. ^ Roger East. "Bogotá's bus rapid transit system and cycle lanes". London. Archived from the original on December 12, 2007.
  6. ^ "No voy a ceder: Lucho Garzón". El Tiempo. 2006-05-03.
  7. ^ "Colombia: TransMilenio bus protests paralyse Bogota". bbc. March 10, 2012.
  8. ^ Retrieved 2022-09-30
  9. ^ Retrieved 2022-09-30
  10. ^ Retrieved 2022-09-30
  11. ^ "Portal de Rutas TransMilenio Mapa Bogota". Retrieved 2012-10-11.
  12. ^ a b "Bogotá Transmilenio", Bus Rapid Transit Policy Center (February 2007) Archived 2009-02-12 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Tarifas del Sistema TransMilenio". TransMilenio (in Spanish). 2024-02-20.
  14. ^ "Aumenta el pasaje para tapar hueco del SITP". El Espectador. 15 March 2017. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  15. ^ "TransMilenio: En 2023 suben las tarifas del transporte público en Bogotá". 23 December 2022.
  16. ^ Proyectos de infraestructura y transporte, "Bogotá - Región Capital Cundinamarca", February 2011
  17. ^ TRB Online Case Studies, "TransMilenio BRT", ca. 2001
  18. ^ William L. Hamilton (2006-01-12). "A Global Look at Urban Planning". New York Times.
  19. ^ "Peñalosa: lo ocurrido contra Transmilenio fue "prácticamente terrorismo"". 10 February 2016. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  20. ^ "Colombia: TransMilenio bus protests paralyse Bogota - BBC News". 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  21. ^ "Why Are People Rioting Over Bogota's Public Transit System?". 20 March 2012. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  22. ^ "¿Por qué colapsó TransMilenio?". Revista Semana. 2014-08-03.
  23. ^ "Transmilenio tiene sobrecupo de 100 mil pasajeros". El Espectador. 2011-09-15.
  24. ^ "Continúa la inseguridad en Transmilenio". El Espectador. 2017-08-21.
  25. ^ "¿La inseguridad se apoderó de TransMilenio?". Publimetro. 28 April 2015.
  26. ^ "[Video] Las cinco estaciones de Transmilenio más congestionadas". Caracol Radio. 2016-08-30.
  27. ^ a b "Administración de Peñalosa se raja en cifras de hurto y lesiones personales". RCN radio. 2018-03-21.
  28. ^ "Los 10 problemas más graves de Bogotá". Deustche Welle. 2016-10-17.
  29. ^ "La pesadilla de las losas de Transmilenio". Revista Dinero. 2012-07-03.
  30. ^ "Buses de TransMilenio emiten 70 % de contaminación donde operan, según estudio". Blueradio. 2015-04-23.
  31. ^ ""¿Nos vamos a perpetuar con el diésel que es un agente cancerígeno?": críticas a TM en el Concejo". Noticias Caraciol. 2017-09-22.
  32. ^ "Diesel Exhaust and Cancer".
  33. ^ "EXCLUSIVE-POLL: Latin American women disgusted by sex pests on public transport". reuters. 2014-10-28.
  34. ^ "Preocupantes cifras de acoso a mujeres en Transmilenio". noticias RCN. 2013-08-21.
  35. ^ "Distrito pondrá fin a vagones exclusivos para mujeres en TransMilenio". El Espectador. 2013-08-21.
  36. ^ "Mujeres policías trabajan encubiertas contra delitos de género". 2014-07-28.
  37. ^ "Nueva víctima de acoso sexual en TransMilenio denuncia que no recibió ayuda". Publimetro. 2017-09-13.
  38. ^ "Así fue grabado un supuesto depravado que opera en Transmilenio". La FM. 2018-03-09.
  39. ^ "Capturan a un hombre señalado de acosar sexualmente a una mujer en TransMilenio". Publimetro. 2018-02-26.
  40. ^ "Los buses de TransMilenio que se han incendiado generan gran preocupación". Publimetro. 2018-02-28.
  41. ^ "Bogotá: bus del Transmilenio se partió por la mitad tras choque". El Comercio. 2018-10-23.
  42. ^ "Otra vez, un bus de Transmilenio se quedó sin una llanta en pleno recorrido". El Comercio. 2017-09-15.
  43. ^ "Bus de TransMilenio perdió dos ruedas en pleno recorrido por Autonorte". El Tiempo. 2017-09-04.
  44. ^ "Fotos: Usuarios denuncian goteras dentro de los buses de TransMilenio". Publimetro. 4 April 2016.
  45. ^ Retrieved 2022-09-28
  46. ^ Retrieved 2022-09-28

External links edit

4°38′56″N 74°06′31″W / 4.6490°N 74.1086°W / 4.6490; -74.1086