A new bus corridor connecting the working-class municipality of Diadema to one of the new business centres of São Paulo commenced operations on the 31st of July 2010, 24 years after the project was initiated. The corridor’s 36 bus stops and 6 transfer points pass through a diverse range of urban contexts, from the popular, low-income city center of Diadema, where favelas surround an lively urban center built in the 1970´s around an exclusive bus corridor, then passing through typically popular areas where cars park on decrepit sidewalks moving through areas with high-security, high-rise condominium residences for the upper-middle class, and ending up in bustling Berrini, where impeccably coiffed executives chat on cellphones in front of newly-built office towers.
This corridor is a new extension to the existing ABD metropolitan bus network that links three cities within the São Paulo metropolitan region: Santo André, São Bernardo and Diadema. The region, known as ABD, concentrates much of the industries and services in South America´s largest city and economic engine.
The 12km Diadema – São Paulo corridor will benefit around 85,000 people who use this public transport route every day. Passengers can buy an integrated ticket that allows use of both the intercity buses and trains. This is available from the train stations and bus terminals and costs R$5 (around US$ 2.85).
For bus commuters, the trip between Diadema and the South Zone of São Paulo will now take half the time it did before the corridor was implemented, according to São Paulo city and state authorities speaking at the inauguration of the exclusive bus corridor. As well as integrating with the commuter train (Line 9 – Emerald), the corridor will also integrate with a future metro station (Line 5 – Lilac) in the Brooklin-Campo Belo area of São Paulo city.
A week after the inauguration, the EMTU (Metropolitan Urban Transport Company) interviewed users of the Diadema Terminal to evaluate the quality of the new ABD corridor extension. Of the 900 people surveyed, more than 80% considered the integration of the lines to the Diadema Terminal, and the operation of the exclusive bus lane, to be good or excellent. In relation to the operation of the exclusive lane, 51% of users considered the change to be good, and 35% considered it to be excellent, giving a total approval rating of 86%. While the corridor has exclusive bus lanes, payment is still made inside the bus, and, as such, it is not yet a “full-BRT”.
In March 2008, ITDP and the Clinton Climate Initiative carried out a workshop and technical assistance for this corridor (photo below). The veteran BRT guru Pedro Szasz, who has worked extensively in Brazil, China, Colombia, Mexico, Indonesia, among other places, administered the activity, working with the EMTU technical staff that finally implemented the bus lane this year. Antonio Carlos Moraes, former director of EMTU, consolidated the push for implementation after travelling to Bogotá in December 2009 at the invitation of ITDP.