On the development of public transit in large cities

This article presents a summary of the analyses and set of recommendations given by a committee of transit specialists gathered by the Minister of Transport of Chile aiming at improving Transantiago, the new transit system recently inaugurated for Santiago. This summary focuses on those recommendations directed towards improving the efficiency, service quality and sustainability of mass public transportation systems in major cities in the developing world and that could be implemented in a short term (within two years). Three broad dimensions of public transit are considered: competition and regulation; investment, financing, fares and subsidies; and the operation and use of infrastructure, design, inspection and control. Although the study grew out of the needs and characteristics of a city such as Santiago (Chile), and of the virtues and deficiencies of Transantiago, much of the analyses and recommendations could be adopted and implemented in the major cities of developed countries in Europe, North America and Asia.