I GET AROUND

Peru 2015 | TRANSPORT | FOCUS: LIMA’S PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Needless death on the roads and public outcry against endless traffic has prompted the authorities to take Lima's transportation shortfall to task.

Among Latin American cities, Lima is famous on many levels: its unique fusion cuisine, its perpetual grey skies, and the surfers that daily swarm the city's beaches. However, Lima is perhaps best known, even when compared with its South American neighbors, for its chaotic and congested roads and urban transport network. Lima's traffic and congestion problems are a hot topic of debate for Limeños. Nearly ever year citywide opinion polls rate transportation as the number one concern for the city's residents, with nearly 73% of residents complaining about traffic congestion in 2014 according to Lima Cómo Vamos an independent polling and ranking organization for the city.

One of the main challenges is the uncoordinated nature of Lima's roads and traffic rules, which vary among each of the city's 43 municipalities. However another challenge is the sheer number of vehicles on the road. According to the Ministry of Transport, there are around 1.5 million private vehicles on Lima's roads. In terms of other transport, Lima's bus and taxi networks are highly unregulated, with the majority of services run by private, or informal operators. In 2014, Lima had around 32,500 buses circulating and 230,000 taxis operating, compared to just 5,700 buses and 13,000 taxis in New York City. The high number of buses and taxis, and lack of regulation of the system often means that each route will have an excess of low-quality operators competing aggressively for clients. Aggressive and unregulated driving takes its toll in Lima, which averages 2.7 road deaths for every 100 vehicles according to a recent study by the Discovery Channel.

The situation is particularly difficult for Limeños without private vehicles. Seven out of every 10 people killed in a traffic accidents in Lima are pedestrians. However, according to Lima Cómo Vamos, fewer than 8% of Limeños have private vehicles and more than 80% of Limeños say the rely on public transport to travel around the city.

Lima's city government is taking a number of steps to try to improve the transport situation. First, to remedy the chaotic situation with taxis and buses, the city is trying to bring in new regulations and increase the number of publicly-run bus services with the goal of halving the number of taxis and buses by 2021. The government has also begun implementing a program to remove obsolete and inefficient vehicles from the roads.

An key element in improving transport is investing in a more modern public transport network. The government has major plans to expand Lima's metro network from the one existing line to a potential total of six lines. The city recently completed the extension of Line 1 of the Metro; a project carried out by a consortium of Graña y Montero and Odebrecht. The line now connects San Juan de Lurigancho in the north of the city with Villa El Salvador in the south in around 50 minutes. Now, work is set to begin on Line 2 of the Metro, which will be the city's first subway line. The line will be constructed by a consortium of Salini Impregilo, Ansaldo, Finnmeccanica, ACS Dragados, FCC, and Cosapi. The project includes five years for construction and 35 years of operations as a concessionary. As both FCC and Salini Impregilo explained to TBY, one of the attractions of being part of the Line 2 project is the potential of participating in the next series of metro lines as ProInversión puts them up for tender.