Paez said that one has to look at accidents on the Transmilenio in context with other road accidents in the capital. “If there is an accident on the general public transport system, it is registered and nothing happens, but an accident on the Transmilienio generates all kinds of opinionated debate about the issue,” he said.
According to statistics from the Road Prevention Fund, in 2010 on the Transmilenio there were 56 accidents without injuries, 127 with injuries and 12 accidents with fatalities. On general public transport there were 4,512 accidents without injuries, 1,884 with injuries and 61 fatal accidents.
According to Paez, the mass transit system does not have a large number of problems, but rather one problem of capacity during peak hours, however he recognized that overcrowding leads to two more problems; bus delays and crime.
“The problem of the Transmilenio is centered around peak hours in the morning and in the evening, in other words from 6:30am to 7:30am and from 5:15pm to 6:15pm,” said the manager of the mass transport network.
Paez is proud of the fact that the Bogota does not need transport subsidies to keep the city moving, although he admits that sacrifices have been made in terms of comfort.
“Unfortunately it was initially sold as a comfortable system and the system can not be comfortable because the structure was not thought out that way … so if I want comfort the tariff goes up,” said the manger.
He added that Bogota does not need transport subsidies unlike the majority of cities in Latin America.
According to figures released by Transmilenio 86.6% of users say they are satisfied with the service following a survey conducted by Datexco.
“My whingers, as I call those who are in the 13%, are an not important number with respect to the 1.7 million passangers.”
Transmilienio moves 1.7 million passengers a day, has 1,215 articulated buses, has 114 stations in operation, and 83 helper routes and handles 28% of journeys made by public transport in the city.
The manager praised the Transmilenio for being able to cope with an ever increasing number of commuters. The main problem with the Transmilenio is its success. “Every year the number of passegers grows by 8.5%, while the population of Bogota grows by 1.5%. With the same infrastructure from 2006 we have this growth in passenger numbers.”
Paez did not mention the controversy that engulfed the Transmilenio project in 2009. The construction contract was embroiled in controversy due to irregulatiries in the awarding of the contract. Both the disgraced Nule Group construction firm and the suspended Bogota mayor Samuel Moreno were involved in the fiasco.