WORK IN PROGRESS COLOMBIA

Colombia 2018 | TRANSPORT | FOCUS: BOGOTÁ METRO

The metro of Bogotá has the potential to revolutionize the entire transport system of the capital and set an example for the entire region.

In recent years, the city of Bogotá has seen major transformation. This was mainly due to increasing FDI and incentives for infrastructure mega projects such as skyscrapers, cultural and business centers, and transit systems.

Among these, the Bogotá metro certainly has been at the core of the capital city's agenda for development since the project has the potential to revolutionize the city's transport system.
For years, the project has united the majority of Colombian people, and more in particular the citizens of Bogotá, through the widespread necessity and support of better public transport service for the capital. People have started to claim the need for a new subway system to complement current transport offerings.
In 2000, the city adopted a bus rapid transit system called Transmilenio, which has been extremely successful and an example for neighboring countries. However, in a city like Bogotá, where roughly half of daily trips are made via public transport and 25% by foot or bicycle, a mass transport system such as a metro surely will be revolutionary.
In order to carry out the mobility project, the Metro de Bogotá SA Company was created by the city council and put in charge of the entire planning, construction, operation, and maintenance of the future subway lines.
According to Enrique Peñalosa, current mayor of Bogotá, and Andrés Escobar, the metro Manager, the project will be successful only if built following best practices such as those of Asian cities. In fact, the vision of the city council is that the metro will not only fulfill its purposes of easing daily transit of commuters and other citizens from one part of the city to the other, but also improve the current living and business environment of the city by allowing more interconnections between different areas. In 2017, the National Council for the Economic and Social Development (CONPES) released a new document that declared the first line of subway of strategic importance for Bogotá and Colombia more broadly.
Despite the lack of engineering details, the government took a step forward to guarantee the financing of the project. The latter was agreed to be undertaken as follows: the national government would contribute COP9.09 trillion, almost 70% of the COP12.95-trillion cost of the first line of the subway, while the district will cover the remaining 30%, which amounts to COP3.86 trillion.
According to the National Planning Department, the construction of the work is expected to start in 2019 and will take approximately five years. The first line will have a commercial length of 25.29km and will be 100% above ground. Moreover, it will pass across 15 stations, of which 10 will interchange with Transmilenio.
Indeed, sustainability is also at the core of the discussion since Bogotá is already highly polluted, and there are concerns that huge infrastructure projects such as the metro might endanger the already poor ecosystem of the city.
In this regard, Metro de Bogotá SA outlined the parameters of energy and environmental efficiency. It states that the metro will operate with natural light and ventilation. Moreover, the trains will operate using clean energy, and the system will be 100% electric, thus becoming a great source of green jobs for the Colombian workforce.
However, the project is not without its critics. One of the biggest critics is the former mayor of Bogotá and failed presidential candidate, Gustavo Petro, who warned that the new layout of the first line is more expensive while also moving fewer people.
Despite these critics and the delay in the construction process, the successful building of the Bogotá metro would represent the pillar of one of the most advanced public transportation systems in the world, bringing an effective change to the lives of its citizens while creating a more attractive business environment and increasing productivity.