STN world traveler Anson Stewart relays some interesting things he's heard during his trip.
I completed 3/4 of my project year a couple of weeks ago. Some of the interesting things I’ve heard between January and April:
- “They’ve had the visit from Enrique Peñalosa” – A research officer from the African Centre of Excellence for Public and Nonmotorized Transit, on why Cape Town decided to start constructing a Bus Rapid Transit system. Bogotá’s charismatic former mayor has helped convince cities around the world to implement BRT.
- “Their niche is the preservation of apartheid spatiality” – South Africa’s Deputy Transport Minister, on the minibus industry, which he described as being “riddled with warlordism.”
- “South Africa is busy with a transport revolution” – The CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Society of South Africa. He went on to compare the Gautrain with the first Ford Model T to arrive in Cape Town’s harbor; it has little effect on transportation per se, but it signals a paradigm shift.
- “I don’t think people realize how much guts you need…Maybe it’s better you don’t know up front” – Johannesburg’s Member of the Mayoral Council for Transportation, on the threats and attacks she faced as a leader of the Rea Vaya BRT project.
- BRT in Buenos Aires is about “the socialization of public space” – The Minister of Urban Development for the Municipality of Buenos Aires
With under three months of travel remaining, I’m departing Buenos Aires and heading through Patagonia to Santiago de Chile, where I will be settled until the end of June.
STN's Stewart is a graduate of Swarthmore College and a recipient of a 2010 Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, a grant to study abroad. Stewart's project is "School Bus Migrations: Recycling Transit in the Global South." Follow his blog and see more photos from his journey.