Matías Fernández, member of our Centre of Excellence and researcher at the Institute of Sociology, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, was invited to speak at the XIX Convención de Transporte Urbano y Suburbano (Conference of Urban and Suburban Transport), which took place at Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on June 6, 7 and 8, 2012. In a Panel with representatives from Embarq-Mexico, Matías Fernández talked about "Political processes in the transition to BRT systems: the cases of Transantiago (Santiago, Chile) and Metrobús (Mexico City)". Between the audience there were transport leaders from all cities and states of Mexico, who nowadays are either participants or interested parties in several transport reforms in different cities of the country. For this reason, the presentation emphasized the weaknesses and strengths of the Transantiago experience: a system designed from a purely technical standpoint, excluding proper information, negotiation and participation processes –with dramatic consequences– but achieving a fully integrated transport system for the entire city of Santiago in a very short period of time.
Arisen from the contrasts between Metrobús and Transantiago experiences, the researcher proposed to seriously discuss the following questions: Is it possible to reconcile graduality with integrity in public transportation systems' reforms? Which are the costs and benefits of the lack of participation and information processes in Mexico and Chile? Which consequences have had the negotiation processes in both cities?
The numerous differences between Metrobús and Transantiago, the researcher hypothesizes, would come from different ways of doing politics in both countries, and he draw attention to agents involved in design and implementation of BRT systems to properly consider the political dimension as a constitutive aspect of the possibilities and limitations of reforms to public transport systems in Latin American cities.
Download the full conference program (in Spanish).
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