Bogotá, Colombia has made significant efforts to integrate bicycling facilities into its TransMilenio Bus Rapid Transit system. The New York City Streets Renaissance team was there to learn more and take a look.
"For every 25 people who ride bikes to the bus terminal," former Parks Commissioner Gil Peñalosa says, "That is one less 'feeder bus' we need to run through the neighborhoods. You do the math and pretty quickly you see it makes financial sense to set aside some space and hire a security guard to help people to ride their bikes."
The TransMilenio bus system includes smaller green "feeder" buses that wend their way through neighborhood streets, picking up passengers and delivering them to major stations and terminals. A ride on a feeder bus is free, which is part of the reason why officials are eager to encourage bicycling to the bus terminals and major stations by funding a secure bike parking facility.
After touring Bogotá's bus and bike network, we asked Peñalosa how a city with about one-tenth of the per capita income of New York was able to build one of sleekest, most efficient and high-tech surface transportation systems in the world? "It's not about the money," Gil told us again and again. "It's about the vision and it's about political will. The politicians can always find the money."