Rio Olympic Bus Legacy Could Shut Down

(ATR) The BRT line used to ferry spectators to the Olympic Park is now considered unsafe for passengers today.

(ATR) The bus-rapid transit line used to ferry spectators to the Rio Olympic Park will reportedly shut down due to safety and passenger concerns.

Buses will be removed from the Transoeste line according to a report from RJTV. The line in Rio de Janeiro's far west connects Santa Cruz, Campo Grande, and Barra da Tijuca.

During the Rio 2016 Olympics Campo Grande hosted a live site in an effort to connect the whole city to the Games. The Transoeste line was used to transport passengers from the Line 4 Metro extension to the Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca.

Construction for the Transoeste line cost $245.5 million. The buses which will reportedly be removed cost $30.7 million.

The BRT lines built ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games were hailed by organizers as one of the biggest legacies from the two megaprojects. IOC Executive Director Christophe Dubi highlighted in March the transport system as well as other infrastructure upgrades in the city.

"I would like to conclude on Rio with a very positive note that everybody acknowledged that the life of citizens of Rio has changed and has changed thanks to the game," Dubi said at an IOC Coordination Commission meeting in PyeongChang.

Cariocas interviewed byAround the Rings have complained that there were many issues with the functionality of the BRT and that infrastructure upgrades were broken promises. One resident described transportation in Rio as "total chaos."

Both Campo Grande and Santa Cruz are large municipal centers within the greater Rio de Janeiro city. Campo Grande has a population of over 325,000 and Santa Cruz is home to 217,000.

The consortium says that crime on the Transoeste has spiked, endangering passengers. Fair-jumpers apparently were also numerous enough to affect the financial viability of the line.

"There are robberies, broken buses, and bad seats," a passenger in Santa Cruz told RJTV. "We arrive [to our destinations] dirty, sweaty, and tired."

ATRspoke with a cleaner who lives in the neighborhood of Sepetiba, next to Santa Cruz. She said without the BRT Transoeste line it would be "very difficult" to get to work in Botafogo on the eastern most part of the city. Even if the Transoeste were to close down, she said that she believes Rio is a better city than before the Olympic Games, and does not feel unsafe travelling by BRT.

"I have use the BRT line for 2 years; it hasmade it a lot easier for me," she said. "For me it was one of the best means of transportation, the trip is much faster. Without the BRT the trip would be more and more delayed."

Another Carioca, who declined to give his name for fear of reprisal, living near the commercial center of Campo Grande told ATR he used the BRT nearly every day from its inaguration in 2012 to mid-2017. He said that if the Transoeste were to close it would be a "tremendous setback," for the region that has seen transportaiton options consolidate for the BRT.

"At so-called rush hour, buses are safe," he said. "There is an insecurity about the bus itself. [They have] poor care, opening doors, poor air conditioning, bumpy lanes, damaged stations.

"Immediately after the Olympic Games, the system worked for a few months. But I think the violence in Rio and the spending cuts made it no longer very good. There is no more security in the stations or there was only one person. The smart guys started noticing this and getting into the stations without paying. The buses seemed to have minimal maintenance and the problems were getting worse. [at night], some stations are dangerous and the risk of being robbed is certain."

Written by Aaron Bauer

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