Annex 1 An Overview of High-Capacity BRT System (HCBRT)

Regulation of Bus Operations

The transformation and modernization of public transportation represents an important challenge for cities and international experience over the past decades has shown that the recommended option for public transport is that of a regulated service. The maintenance of regulatory policy in relation to technical and economic questions is needed due to three basic considerations:

  • Public transportation uses the roadway and its operation impacts on traffic circulation, on the environment, on travel times and the general level of accessibility within the city – as well as the competitiveness of the city within the region;
  • The need to guarantee acceptable levels of public safety (minimizing the number and severity of traffic accidents); and
  • The high inelasticity of public transport demand, especially work-based trips.

The decision to regulate the urban public transportation system in a modern and efficient manner, thus guaranteeing long term sustainability, is an important step, as it implies a redefining of the relationship between the State and the operators. The legal framework must make clear that the private sector is supplying an urban passenger transport system: a public service by definition and essential for the common good of all citizens and the healthy development of economic activity. As such, regulation requires the development of operating companies with the necessary attributes to assure the long-term viability of the system.

The adoption of trunk and feeder systems helps to define the city into specific catchment areas. Many cities adopt a system of franchising or concessioning by inviting tenders on the basis of ‘Gross Cost of Providing the Service’ for determined areas. This contrasts with the traditional system of route concessioning – a system which can promote a maze of semi-conflicting routes, with little or no rationalization and a huge bureaucracy devoted to sorting out the interests of competing groups.

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