The increase in bus fare brings more headaches for the Brazilian citizen than electricity, water or telephone bills. This insight was revealed in unpublished research from NTU (National Association of Urban Transport) presented at the 2014 National Seminar.
The Association surveyed 91 representatives from the transport sector, including opinion leaders, policy makers, entrepreneurs, journalists, experts, parliamentarians, and representatives of municipal councils and academics. The survey asked, what solutions are there to the social demands for public transport? The many solutions proposed by the group of participants based on three central claims of Brazilians: Price, Quality, and Transparency.
Below are the solutions proposed by the survey’s participants:
"Not for 20 cents." This sentence was present during the wave of protests last year, triggered by an increase of 20 cents in bus fare in Porto Alegre. Although the protesters demanded greater social rights as a whole, the fact is that the price for bus passage is a justified, major concern, in the opinion of the survey respondents, for two main reasons. One, because it weighs heavily on the daily expenses of Brazilians, as 56.8% of respondents advocate. Secondly, because the public transport service is an issue considered to be very important to the population (28.4%). How then, is it possible to resolve the issue?
In the view of most respondents (39.6%), the answer is a fair tariff that does not compromise worker income. Of those, 23.1% of respondents defended the full fare subsidy by the Federal Government, preceded by the social rate as income, cited by 18.7% of respondents. The universal rate, on the other hand, was defended by a minority: 8.8%.
The subsidy cost of public transport was also defended by most respondents: 92.3% of them are in favor of charging parking lots and 85% support the taxation of gasoline; 85.9% support congestion pricing in central areas; and 51% support the increase in property taxes of more expensive properties.
The service quality of public transport is crucial in order for people to choose the bus instead of the car in urban areas. According to the NTU survey, the most important factors for quality transportation are compliance schedules (78.8%), agility in total travel time including delays (72.5%); and safety on buses, terminals and stations (57.1%). The access to information by users was also cited by most respondents (53.8%), followed by cleaning and lighting (50%), among other factors. The survey points out that investing in roads dedicated to buses and high capacity systems such as BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), is a strategy that can lead to success. The factors for quality of BRT systems have been discussed in the National Seminar NTU panel by the CEO of EMBARQ Brazil, and Luis Antonio Lindau.
Access to information is also a demand of society, of which the survey respondents - opinion leaders and decision makers - are aware. In terms of transparency, they described what they believe are the main concerns of the population:
“In general, the research reinforces the view that government spending should ensure priority service on urban roads, focus on operational efficiency and data transparency, and especially be open to the demands of its users. (This) makes all the difference for the transportation system and allows it to have an effective role not only to move people but to ensure the right of mobility and access to health, education, leisure and employment services - in a more sustainable way than the car.”
What issues does the public transportation system face in your city? Does your city actively participate with its citizens? How so?
Original article, originally published in Portuguese, here.
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