The first route of the new public transport system in Peru’s capital started operating Monday with riders having to put up with long lines and unprecedented confusion.
Beginning Monday, 125 buses are running on Tacna, Garcilaso de la Vega and Arequipa avenues between Lima’s historic center and the Miraflores district, replacing some 4,500 vans known as “combis.”
The combis drive around Lima crammed with passengers and are generally blamed for the chaotic traffic, constant accidents and air and noise pollution.
The buses took to the streets at 5:00 a.m., after which television news programs showed shots of long lines waiting at the main bus stops along the “Blue Corridor.”
Passengers told reporters they had been waiting for up to 20 minutes to get on a bus, while many also complained because it was impossible to tell which buses went to where they wanted to get off.
The president of the Emape municipal transit agency, Javier Sota Nadal, begged the passengers’ pardon.
“Their annoyance was legitimate and we beg their pardon. People need to know more and we have to explain more,” he said.
The situation also led to a Labor Ministry decree that workers would have an extra two hours to get to their workplaces and urged employers “to adopt flexible measures allowing workers to be compensated for the time they were involuntarily missing from their jobs.”
The municipality of Lima has said that during September, buses in the Blue Corridor will be free, and later, they will charge 1.5 soles (53 cents) per trip regardless of the distance.