Transmetro – BRT in Guatemala City

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The week I arrived in Guatemala City, the municipality initiated service on the new Corredor Central (shown in green in the map above) of its Transmetro bus rapid transit (BRT) system. The city’s first line, Transmetro Sur (shown above in orange), opened in 2007 and was also the first BRT line in Central America. The municipality is continuing to expand on these two existing lines, with hopes of eventually replacing the old red school buses on many of the city’s most crowded routes.

Unlike many of the so-called BRT systems in the United States, the Transmetro has many characteristics of high quality transit, including prepaid fares, multiple boarding doors, level platform loading at enclosed stations, and well-enforced exclusive right of way (for most stretches). I’m not sure if traffic signal prioritization has been implemented, but at some intersections along the routes, officers directing traffic essentially served as signal preemption. The first line uses 160-passenger Busscar Urbanuss Plus articulated buses on Ciferal and Volvo chassis, while the new Corredor Central uses 119-passenger Busscar Urbanuss models on Scania chassis. Having police officers at each station and on each bus greatly improves boarding efficiency and security over the old red buses. The Transmetro Sur even has a mix of local and express services. In short, for the same fare as the old red school buses (about 12¢), the Transmetro is a much safer and more pleasant transportation experience.

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