- Atracción del mayor nivel de ingresos al transporte público en las ciudades socialmente segregadas. El caso de Caracas.
- Attracting higher income class to public transport in socially clustered cities. The case of Caracas
In Caracas, as in most socially clustered cities, modal split is highly related to income. High income population is mostly car dependant, while lower income people are captive of public transport. This typical situation is explained by world-wide social values and fashion but also by the fact that new, segregated residential areas for the upper social levels have been located in areas poorly served by public transport, creating a dependency on the private car. It is not surprising that, 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. What is more unusual is to realise that, since 1983 when the metro system was inaugurated, there is a new pattern of travel behaviour. The metro has mainly attracted high-income people. Besides the few of them who have transferred from surface to underground public transport, many of the wealthier patrons seem to be regular car users that presently take the metro when it provides a good alternative. Currently, the transit system in Caracas is comprised of four main modes: the metro (since 1983); the "por puesto", 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 slums); and the bus system, consisting of metro-bus and private operators. CA Metro operates the metro and, since 1987, metro-bus lines, which are bus feeder services to its heavy rail metro operation that extend the cover area of the system into the less central zones of the city. While the metro and metro-bus offer transit services to middle and high income users, the mini-buses and jeeps provide flexible transit service to low income groups. The metro and metro-bus services are more reliable and offer higher quality that mini-buses and jeeps. This higher quality service is one of the main attributes attracting the wealthier people to metro and metro-bus. 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". The aim of the paper is to provide a quantitative explanation of the 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 and metro-bus services in this behaviour. The analysis of the data collected by CA Metro on modal split by income show the existence of a strong correlation between the quality of public transport and the income distribution of users, which can not be explained by tariffs only. The series of data collected over the years allow an econometric analysis of the evolution of the trend. A series of interviews with metro and metro-bus managers, as well as sociologists and social psychologists have helped identify the sociological variables with the highest influence in the travel behaviour of high income population and those quality attributes of metro and metro-bus with most attractiveness. The results could be indicative on how successful policies to induce a change in modal choice from cars to public transport could be implemented even in cities where social segregation is extreme.
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