Exclusive lanes for buses and other infrastructure works, in order to expedite transportation in at least 10 sectors of the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) are part of the goals set by the current administration, in the so-called ‘sectorization process’.

An exclusive bus lane has been implemented since last year only in Tibás. Photo Jeffrey Zamora

This was stated by the Deputy Minister of Transport Eduardo Brenes Mata, who explained that this is the necessary base, to later start with the modernization of public transport.

Currently, exclusive bus lanes only apply in Tibás; However, the pilot plan includes sectors and sub-sectors such as San Francisco de Dos Ríos, Moravia-Paracito, San Pedro-Curridabat, Santa Ana-Escazú, Desamparados and Pavas.

While in a second phase, exclusive bus lanes would be applied to Guadalupe-San Isidro de Vázquez de Coronado, Uruca-Heredia, Paso Ancho-San Sebastián and the central sector of San José.

The plan of the administration is that by 2021, when the concessions of the bus companies come up for renewal, the contracts will be signed under a sector model, instead routes.

The sector model includes that larger buses circulate long truncal roads, fed by smaller units.

Long process
The plan to reorder public transport in the GAM is not news, in fact, it has been around for almost 18 years, between studies and unsuccessful attempts.

In 2016, the MOPT announced that it would start from scratch and contract technical studies to define routes, fares, charging systems and exclusive lanes, in the cantons of Goicoechea, Moravia, Montes de Oca, Curridabat, and Desamparados.

That measure discarded a study prepared in 2014, which cost US$800,000

Also, four elaborated reports were filed in 1999, 2006, 2007 and that of the Spanish firm Ineco that created the Plan Nacional de Transportes (National Transport Plan) 2011-2035.

In February of last year, the previous government published a decree in which the stages and each one of the phases that would include the new plan was set.

Under the name of “Política Pública Sectorial de la Modernización del Transporte Público Modalidad Autobuses del Área Metropolitana de San José”, (Sectorial Public Policy of the Modernization of Public Transport Modality Buses of the Metropolitan Area of San José), it was intended to integrate actions between the MOPT, its agency, the Public Transport Council (CTP) and the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos (Aresep).

In August last year, a project was started with which Tibás was intended to become the pilot plan, to then unify the corridor between San José and Heredia, passing through the cantons of Tibás, Santo Domingo and San Pablo.

However, at the end of the Solis administration at the beginning of May of this year, only the San Jose phase was completed.

Critics doubt the current administration will make any real progress in the project.