October 01, 2003

Maracaibo Weighs Bus Service Improvements, Light Rail

Based on the results of the Commission’s evaluation, two projects have been given new life – a light rail project developed in 1994 and a bus restructuring proposal created in 1995. Though the light rail project was never completed, the infrastructure was partially built.

Work on light rail infrastructure will restart in October, while the project is being revised. New bus routes opened in July of 1997 and in just three months travel demand had surpassed expected levels by 100%. The routes, which operate in mixed traffic, were originally intended to serve as a feeder network for the light rail lines once it started operation. The bus system has been running since it opened, but service has declined due to lack of support to the transit authority.

Since the Transportation Commission was created, the mayor has announced that he would like a new bus Master Network to be in operation by the end of the year. The light rail project is currently being revised after new travel demand results.

However, several experts have suggested that a Bus Rapid Transit system would support the expected travel demand just as well at a more affordable cost. Because these transportation projects are such a visible issue for the upcoming elections, the Mayor faces pressure to provide a concrete plan to improve the city’s public transit service.

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