Bogota's massive bus system has been globally hailed as a triumph in public transit - here's why I prefer it over New York City's buses
- Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, doesn't have an underground metro.
- It does have the TransMilenio, which moves 2.4 million passengers every day.
- On a recent reporting trip to the country, I got the chance to appreciate how efficient the TransMilenio is compared to New York City's bus system.
2.4 million passengers every day.
The TransMilenio has also been hailed as a triumph in public transit - 9% of its passengers used to commute by their own cars. Now, they take the bus. And the TransMilenio, in replacing the previous bus system in 2000, has helped boost air quality in Bogotá by 40%.
On a recent reporting trip to Bogotá, I took the TransMilenio around. It was often just as quick as taking an Uber or taxi, but much cheaper.
Taking the TransMilenio also gave me the chance to see what daily life is like in Bogotá, and connect with more Colombians. I chatted with an older couple on the bus after they told me that I looked like their niece. We shook hands to say goodbye once I reached my stop. It was a brief yet special encounter.
I also take buses around New York City sometimes. Compared to New York, the buses in Bogotá were cheaper, newer, and cleaner. They ran more frequently and I felt safer on them. Rather than being treated as an afterthought, the bus system is prioritized in Bogotá as a transport method that can move millions of people in a week.
Here's my experience on the TransMilenio: