Conclusions of the International Conference on Efficient Bus Systems
Barcelona, 1st, 2nd and 3rd February of 2006
We have celebrated in Barcelona this International Conference with a great success of public and with a great quality in the communications. Relevant experiences of efficient bus systems of several cities from North and South America, Oceania and Europe have been presented. Documents of the congress will be soon available in the PTP web site. Next, the first conclusions of the Conference are shown.
- The system called BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), which guarantee some contributions even in some cases higher to those of the underground, is a powerful instrument that with few resources achieves to organise metropolitan services providing 100 or more buses per hour. It is necessary that Spain begins to think seriously of BRT because they work very well, are very economical and hugely efficient. To make them possible it is indispensable to build the BUS-HOV lanes that we have been waiting for a long time up in the metropolitan areas, which have to be equipped suitably.
- In dense urban areas, as our compact cities, it is more difficult to implant BRT systems although there are other solutions for giving priority to the buses. There is a long way to do. As it has been made in many other cities, we have to give priority to buses, in order to comply with the principle that public transport represents the general interest and the private car only the private one.
- Regarding the speed of the bus in urban areas, the datum is clear: bus spends the half of its time stopped. It explains the difference of speed between car (22 km/hr) and bus (12 km/hr). It is necessary to increase its speed basing on criteria of priority in the traffic and changing the access system of passengers in the stops.
- The number of commuters entering into Madrid in bus is 450.000 per day. In the case of Barcelona, the figure is only 100.000. This is the main differential in the public transport of both cities, not the underground. Barcelona is one of the few European cities that is not still thinking of exploiting thoroughly the possibilities of its buses.
- We greet the proposal of TMB for reorganising the bus network of Barcelona, an old claim of PTP. With a network like the shown one, we will have more transport, more frequency, and a faster service at the same cost. Again the concept of efficiency so claimed in congress. We ask the authorities that this remodelling network be made with dialog with the entities and that the plan be accompanied with a good protection and priorities to the bus lanes. The experience learned when the city set the Area Verda (pricing parking area) up shows that we can overcome the barriers if the dialogue is assured.
- Our guests from other countries have said us that we can be ourselves satisfied of our transports, at least those of Barcelona.
- The improvement of public transport can not be limited itself to the big cities and their metropolitan areas. It is necessary that the improvement arrives to all the country. In the case of Catalonia, we ask for the regional Government (Generalitat) to comply the electoral promise contained in the Pacte del Tinell (governmental agreement) for assuring a transport service each hour linking the main cities of the Catalan counties.
- Likewise, we greet the creation of the metropolitan transport authorities in Girona, Tarragona and Lleida and the proposal of enlarging the integrated fare system into all Catalonia.
- The agreement of transferring Renfe (suburban and regional services) to the regional government (Generalitat), contained in the package of the new Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia, have to force to changing the priorities of the Catalan government. It is necessary to pay attention to the daily problems of transportation instead of embarking in Pharaonic investments of doubtful profitability. The basis of the progress of the transportation in Catalonia over the next ten years it is to amend the regional and suburban railway services and to implant a network of metropolitan transport services in Tarragona, Lleida and Girona. It is necessary to double rapidly the bus supply. These are low cost measures that will improve the mobility in a sustainable manner. More than huge plans of infrastructures, we need plans of mobility. Moreover, it is necessary to incorporate specific infrastructures for buses.
- And, finally, we have to insist on the urgency of reinforcing the links between urbanism and mobility. The example of the city of Curitiba is very clear of the success of this policy. We urge the authorities, therefore, to apply all the issues contained in the Law of Mobility of Catalonia.
Barcelona, February of 2006