The reason why I write this blog is because I have been thinking about what I would do to change the Peruvian society if I were Peruvian. Undoubtedly, transportation is the first and most important issue I would like to solve.
What you may want to know
Other than taxis, there are four types of transportation in Lima, which are Combi (minivan), Couster (middle-bus), Micros (normal-sized bus) and Metropolitan (express bus). The first two were owned by private companies. According to teleSUR (2014), there are around 165,000 people working in Peru’s transportation. Being the second largest city in South America, Lima has a population almost 10 million. Everyday, there are congestions throughout the city at rush hours (7:30 – 10 a.m.; 1-3 p.m.; 6-10 p.m.).
On average, every Lima citizen has to spend three hours on transportation every day. We notice that it this was headache the first week we arrived. There is no automatic system, so we cannot use Google Maps to check which bus to take. We usually don’t know which stop to get off at, and we can hardly be on time because you we (and the rest of the city) are always stuck in traffic. Because big cities, like, Lima are known for thefts (according to a Peruvian, on average, each Lima citizen is robbed three times throughout their life). Therefore, we as foreigners do not dare to take out our phones when we are on the public transportation. That is to say, throughout long hours we were on the buses, we could only watch people and the scenery or sleep while “hugging” your backpack.
Here is why..
While I did not intend to make this blog like a paper, I did come up with three reasons why transportation is the core issue to solve in Lima.
1) General welfare is infected.
Traffic jams become the core problem to solve when it affects the general welfare of society. Even if you leave your home for one minute late, you may get stuck in traffic for half an hour. Such systems infect peoples’ daily lives. Workers and students cannot get to work or school on time. Ambulances and fire trucks have barriers to save people’s lives, and most transportation is not handicap accessible.
2) It causes annoyances.
Lima’s drivers like to honk. You need to train yourself to get used to the honk’s chorus and to “surf” on the bus. What’s more, we have to be careful as a thief may sit right by you and take your phone without your notice.
3) There is a high opportunity cost.
There are thousands of bus conductors, but a number of them are in their prime time of life. I feel sorry when I see them just selling the tickets in the bus. They can do so many other productive things rather than just hanging on the bus, yelling the addresses and getting money from people. They should be given opportunities to jobs that require more technical skills. Their talents should be utilized to add more value to their society.
Therefore, if I were the mayor of Lima, I would focus on the transportation system. I would acquire the private buses. I would eliminate the small buses and concentrate on the development of the public transportation. I will provide job opportunities that will generate more economic value. It would be a long process, and transformation requires the cooperation of many people, but because it infects people’s welfare, causes annoyances and carries high opportunity cost, this problem should be solved no matter what.