(As of February 2007)
|Currently, there is one bus operator. Unlike Transmilenio in Bogota, this operator keep fare revenues without regard to km of service provided, minus an offset for a supervision and fare collection contractor, discussed below. However, when additional lines open up, additional operators are anticipated, and it is expected that the operators will split the fare revenues based upon km of service provided. .
Overseeing the entire operation is a small foundation established by the city. The foundation has roughly 12 employees and is responsible for planning future lines and ensuring that current operations run smoothly. The foundation particularly focuses upon service quality issues, like bus crowding. Although other cities have administrative entities overseeing their BRT systems, the foundation appears unique in that it is funded entirely from space rental and other non-fare related income.
|Located on the Rio Guayas, Guayaquil is a port city of roughly 3 million people. In recent years, it has made remarkable progress in urban redevelopment and transportation, including implementing the first phase of a BRT system modeled after Bogota's Transmilenio (see also our report on Pereira's Megabus) and the complete redevelopment of the downtown waterfront into a lively, vibrant pedestrian promenade.|
|Planning began for Metrovia in 2001 and the system opened in 2006. Phase I has 15 km of dedicated lanes, 34 stations, and 2 terminals. Fare collection occurs at the entrance to the station via contactless smart card. The first line carries about 100,000 passenger trips per day and seven lines are eventually planned.
Unlike Transmilenio, Metrovia has only one dedicated lane in each direction. However, a major expansion is underway, and future lines will have 2 dedicated lanes per direction in high demand areas.
Guayaquil is characterized by very high public transportation utilization (roughly 83%) and a fleet of aging, private buses that provide the service. Before Metrovia, there were about 5,000 of these private buses, known as colectivos, competing for passengers (see below left). Metrovia is designed to replace these private buses and provide a cleaner, safer, more efficient service. In fact, about 30 percent of all traffic accidents in the city are blamed on colectivos. About 250 colectivos have been replaced by the first Metrovia line, which uses 40 articulated buses and 40 standard buses.
|Metrovia also has a separate company that provides control and fare collection services. For example, this company hires the station attendants, installed and operates a dedicated fiber optic network connecting the stations, tracks buses, and operates and manages the security system. Currently, each station is fully attended at all times, but there are plans to use automated ticket machines in the future.
The current fare is $0.25 and, with discounts, the average fare is $0.22. The control and fare collection system was designed for 600,000 trips per day, and the contractor complained that it is losing money until additional lines are built. The central government indicated, however, that fares could be raised to as high as $0.30.
|Metrovia follows a north-south route roughly parallel to the waterfront The route splits through the downtown for roughly 1 km, where each of the routes is one way. This helps the system to negotiate some fairly narrow streets and provides more extensive transit coverage in the downtown.|
|All fare revenues are collected and placed immediately into the trust. The contractor takes a fixed percentage, currently set at 9.3 percent, and the remainder goes to the bus operator. The trust charges a nominal fee for its services (one dollar per month) and makes money on the interest it earns between the time it collects the revenues until the time it pays the contractors.
To date, the on-time performance has been 97 percent on both the trunk and the feeders. There are four roving supervisors who assist station attendants as needed. There also are four roving supervisors who fix infrastructure problems.
Implementation of Metrovia encountered some interesting cultural challenges. First, customers were accustomed to the colectivos stopping when they were flagged down and at first complained about the need to walk to stations. Thus, Metrovia stations are often closer together than BRT stations in other cities.
Second, Ecuadorian law requires that all passengers aboard colectivos be seated. Colectivos often stop and start abruptly and remaining seated is important for safety reasons. Metrovia has a dedicated lane and stops only at stations, thus enabling standees.
The city of Guayaquil received an award during the 2007 Transportation Research Board conference for its efforts to build a more sustainable city. As new Metrovia lines are built, expect great things from Guayaquil.
|Like other Latin American BRT's, Metrovia is a trunk and feeder system. Passengers arrive at terminals located at either end of the line and transfer to the trunk line services.
The terminal stations are stunning pieces of architecture. They are large and airy structures, reminiscent of European train stations. Passengers arriving by feeder bus transfer without paying an additional fare, and passengers arriving from outside the system enter through a turnstile with their smart card.
|Also like other Latin American BRT's, Metrovia is a public-private partnership. The city is providing the infrastructure for the first three trunk lines, which is expected to cost about $100 million, including the terminals. Of this $100 million, $70 million is being financed by a loan from the Andean Development Corporation (CAF).
Operations are provided by private contractors, typically former colectivo operators. The operators are paid directly from fare revenues and there are no operating subsidies. All funds go through a trust, not the city, thus providing Metrovia with some independence from political pressures and changes.
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