On July 10, representatives of the city of Cali, Colombia received the BRT Standard Silver certification for the Integrated Mass Transit System of Cali, which transports 420,000 passengers per day. The award ceremony was held at Menga station in the north area of Cali, and was attended by María del Pilar Rodríguez, Director of MIO, a local congresswoman, and Bernando Baranda, Latin America Director for ITDP.
Bernardo discussed the qualifications for the silver certification, a recognition based on the evaluation of the physical characteristics and performance of MIO. He noted that among the factors considered for this qualification are the speed and frequencies of the corridor, exclusive lanes, access for people with reduced mobility or disabilities, integration with the rest of the city’s transit, good branding and image of the system, and number of passengers carried. Silver is, of course, the second highest ranking for BRT corridors, so Bernardo also discussed some areas for improvement, such as improving user information by making the maps easier to read and understand, improving the timing of traffic lights and passenger comfort and increasing peak frequencies.
The BRT Standard evaluated 40 systems in Latin America, 12 of which not qualify for gold, silver or bronze. MIO’s silver status was shared with Transmilenio in Bogota and some Curitiba corridors, as well as Saõ Paulo in Brazil and several corridors of Metrobus in Mexico City. Guadalajara’s BRT won gold, as did some corridors of Transmilenio in Bogota.
Laura Ballesteros, Deputy Coordinator of the Legislative Assembly Plan of the Transportation Commission of Mexico City, said that MIO provided inspiration and could serve as a model for Latin America, particularly Mexico City. “The MIO now carries 60% of its citizens, which is something incredible to see. It should be seen as a successful example because it improves mobility for people, and provides an alternative to cars and trucks. We want a MIO throughout Mexico City”. Ms. Ballesteros said within about three months, there will be a forum on mobility and mass transit, which will hopefully inclue the mayor of Cali, Rodrigo Guerrero Velasco, and the President of MetroCali, María del Pilar Rodríguez, as exhibitors, to demonstrate the benefits of the MIO. She concluded her remarks by saying that MIO is a cornerstone to the city transforming process, and should be replicated across Latin America.