Ecuador is turning the success of its current bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Quito to similar busways in other cities.
There are plans for BRT service in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, and Cuenca, the third-largest city.
Service in Quito began in 1996 with a fleet of 54 trolleybuses (El Trole) built by Hispano Carrocera SA in Zaragosa, Spain. An Adtranz electrical propulsion system and Kiepe current collection equipment are also part of the system. The estimated cost of the system was $57 million.
Trolleybuses were selected because, at the time, emissions from diesel engines were not fully controlled and pollution in the area was increasing.
The seven-mile route extends from the north at Estacion Nord to the Estacion Sur. Most of the route is operated in a reserved section of Avenida 10 de Agosto and there are 39 high-platform stations. Headways for the service are two minutes, and the fare is 20 cents.
In June 2000, an extension of the busway was completed from Estacion Sur to Moran Val Verde, a distance of 3.7 miles. An additional 59 Hispano-bodied Mercedes-Benz trolleybuses were acquired. An expansion to the north is planned.
Because of the success of El Trole in the Avenida 10 de Agosto corridor, plans for additional busways were discussed. Early in 2002, construction began on a five-mile busway in Ecovia.
Prior to the delivery of 42 Marcopolo/Volvo articulated diesel buses for the service, some of the diesel trolleybuses were used. Officials in Quito feel the newer diesel engines meet the strict emissions standards and therefore chose the new diesel buses for the Ecovia.
The Ecovia route has its stations in the middle of the two lanes, meaning the buses have their platform doors on the left side of each vehicle. Like the trolleybus system, the Ecovia route has a large terminal, but only on the north end.
The combined traffic on the El Trole and Ecovia busways is 240,000 boardings per day.
Another busway will be established in early 2004 and will require 70 articulated buses. This busway will be on the Avenida America to the west of the El Trole busway. It is expected to cost $12 million, or less than $1 million per kilometer. This integrated transportation system also involves connections to three other routes.
— BILL LUKE