Attracting Higher Income Class to Public Transport in Socially Clustered Cities: the Case of Caracas



Attracting Higher Income Class to Public Transport in Socially Clustered Cities: the Case of Caracas

Authors

FLOREZ J, Universidad Sim6n Bolivar, Venezuela

Description

In Caracas, as in most socially clustered cities, modal split is highly related to income. High-income population is mostly car dependent, while lower income people are captive of public transport. This is a typical situation in many cities of less develo

Abstract

In Caracas, as in most socially clustered cities, modal split is highly related to income. High-income population is mostly car dependent, while lower income people are captive of public transport. This is a typical situation in many cities of less developed countries. In Caracas this link between modal split and income was reinforced by the construction of segregated residential areas for the upper social levels in areas poorly served by public transport. During the 1970's, a high proportion of Caracas's middle and high-income citizens were systematically using their car even in areas where there was a good offer of public transport. It is therefore interesting to realise that, since 1983, when the Metro system was inaugurated, there is a new pattern of travel behaviour. The Metro has attracted higher income users to public transport. An important proportion of them is a regular car user that presently takes the Metro when it provides a good alternative.

Currently, the transit system in Caracas is comprised of four main modes: the Metro (since 1983); theporpuesto, which are minibus vehicles of 18 to 32 seats; the jeeps, which are dual traction vehicles of up to 12 seat (most of them serving hilly areas, basically slurns); and the bus system, consisting of Metro-bus and private operators. CA Metro operates the Metro and, since 1987, Metro-bus lines, which extend the cover area of the system into the less central zones of the city. The Metro and Metro- bus services are more reliable and offer higher quality that mini-buses and jeeps. Also, since the inauguration of the Metro, a strong advertising of the service has been promoting its use and creating a different civic behaviour of the system's users. It is well known in Caracas that local people "are much more civilised when underground". This combination of improved supply and user-oriented policy has been successful in attracting a new class of users to the public transport system.

The aim of the paper is to provide a quantitative explanation of this social phenomenon, identifying the sociological variables that have induced the observed changes in modal choice for the higher income class and establishing the influence of the promotion of the Metro service on this behaviour. The series of data collected over the years allow an econometric analysis of the evolution of the trend. Interviews with Metro and Metro-bus managers, as well as sociologists and social psychologists have helped identify the sociological variables with the highest influence on travel behaviour and those quality attributes of Metro and Metro-bus with most attractiveness.

This paper is structured in seven sections including this introduction and the conclusions. The second section is an overview of the urban development of Caracas.

The third section refers to its transport system. The fourth section explains the advertising and promotion campaigns that CA Metro has carried out to attract new users and to induce civic behaviour in the Metro system; it also presents the evolution of the characteristics of the Metro users. The spatial segregation of the population in Caracas and its relationship with modal split is analysed in section fifth. Finally, the sixth section studies the evolution of quality of the Metro service and their relationship with the socio-economic characteristic of the users.

Publisher

Association for European Transport