The City will put out to tender an electric transportation line that triggers alerts to bus owners

The City will put out to tender an electric transportation line that triggers alerts to bus owners
The City will put out to tender an electric transportation line that triggers alerts to bus owners

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Since a month ago, The City opened a tender to add a new transportation system. It is a network of small electric buses that will travel through the downtown, one of the areas that suffered the most from the closures, the quarantine due to the Covid pandemic and the consolidation of remote work. But, while the process progresses, in the Buenos Aires offices, the a much more ambitious project which has already set off the alarms of the owners of the buses that circulate between the Río de la Plata, General Paz and Riachuelo. It is a second call for tenders to operate a line of electric buses, which have the aesthetics and comforts of trams, but do not require urban intervention on roads or catenaries.

Vehicles have become a kind of fetish in the influential group C40, a global organization that brings together the mayors of 96 cities, among the largest in the world. It is a public transport system that combines the efficiency of a tram with the flexibility of a bus. It uses electric vehicles that circulate in exclusive lanes, allowing faster and more sustainable mobility. In addition, there is the possibility of being able to change routes since it does not require urban infrastructure,” he said. Pablo BereciartúaMinister of Infrastructure of the city.

In official offices they imagine that in no more than three months the bidding will be online. “Our idea is that next year these trams will circulate in the city”says the official. According to the sketches that are drawn, the first line, which would be experimental, would begin, or end, if applicable, at the last station of subway line D, Congreso de Tucumán (Cabildo y Congreso). Although the final route is not known, it would pass through the Innovation Park, Ciudad Universitaria, Aeroparque and, then, it would take a coastal route to reach La Boca, Vuelta de Rocha and finish, through Barracas and Parque Patricios, near the Hurricane court. In all, they say, That first line would have a route of around 40 kilometers.

Of course, such a project did not go unnoticed by transporters. The owners of the buses that in some part of the route will compete with the so-called ART (Autonomous Rail Rapid Train). What’s more, the Buenos Aires government makes calculations and predicts that this local transportation system It should have a ticket price similar to what the ticket costs on alternative means, such as the subway or bus.

Currently, the Buenos Aires bus system is under federal jurisdiction, that is, it is regulated by the Nation. Although there was always talk of around 33 lines that do not cross the city limits passing into Buenos Aires hands, the truth is that no progress was ever made on that line. Only the subway, which also depended on the Casa Rosada, changed hands when Florencio Randazzo was Minister of Transportation of the Nation and Mauricio Macri, head of the Buenos Aires government.

The circulation of these trams will not go unnoticed, as will the one that will run through the Microcentro, more limited and with other types of vehicles, similar to a combi, but electric. In fact, there is precedent. In 2008, The Buenos Aires Ministry of Urban Development opened a tender to hire consulting services “for the study, feasibility and preliminary design of the layout for the extension of the urban tram”. In that same Official Gazette, a call for bids was also published to hire a study to analyze the “feasibility and preliminary design of the Premetro extension.” One Monday of that year the envelopes were to be opened, but on Friday, without much explanation, the process was cancelled. Gone was the idea of ​​having a tram in Puerto Madero, Constitución, La Boca, Parque Patricios, Barracas, Palermo, Retiro and Ciudad Universitaria, with a stopover at the Aeroparque.

No one told what had happened although, over time, it was learned that the pressure from the transportation owners of the city of Buenos Aires did their thing and the drawers of a desk were the final destination of the project. A little more than 15 years passed, the buses were never modernized and despite the fact that the bodies are somewhat more rounded than then, the same technology is maintained. An alternative means was never advanced. Now, under the command of another Macri, Jorge, in this case, a similar idea returns that, paradoxically, has a similar journey. It is true that it is another time, and another administration. The carriers are practically the same. Just some changes. The first, the departure of the powerful Plaza Group, from the Cirigliano brotherswho was then speaking in the ear of the Secretary of Transportation of the Nation, Ricardo Jaime, and the consolidation of the DOTA Group, now owner of about half of the bus fleet in the metropolitan area. It will be another underlying fight.

The new transportation system would go from Belgrano to La Boca, passing through Ciudad Universitaria and Aeroparque

The ARTs, as they are known, have been circulating since 2017 in Zhuzhou, a Chinese city in the province of Hunan where the experimental path began. The formations, a kind of electric autonomous tram, circulate along a route marked by lines painted on the ground that act as virtual tracks. “They are trained so that they do not have a driver, but we are not thinking about that possibility for now,” said Bereciartúa.

That scheme has already expanded to more cities in the Chinese giant, such as Yibin or Xianyang, in addition to several cities in Europe, such as Madrid, and Australia. Those first units were developed by the Chinese company CRRC Corporation Limited, one of the most important railway companies in the world, which is also the one that sold the electric trains with which the Miter, Roca and Sarmiento railways were renewed.. They are formations that can add modules, similar to tram cars.

In the Buenos Aires government they maintain that It will be a scheme similar to the subwayThat is, the local State provides the units and a private party operates them. Of course there is a no small issue: the cars must be approved by the National Institute of Industrial Technology (INTI). The start of the project will depend on the timing of this distribution. Everything is moving forward to provide the Capital with a different transportation, something that has never happened. In Argentina, when the old foundations of the world of regulated businesses are shaken, the actors make themselves heard. It won’t be the exception this time.

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