The Bogotá Transmilenio system has attained a very high productivity level averaging 1,600 passengers per day per bus, reducing traveling time by 32%, eliminating 2,109 public-service vehicles, reducing gas emissions by 40%, and making zones around the trunk roads safer thus decreasing accident rates by 90% throughout the system.

What is it?

Transmilenio is a rapid bus transit system throughout the city of Bogotá, which consists of 850 buses and has a demand of 1,400,000 passengers per day.

How does it work?

Initiated by Mayor Penalosa (1998-2000) who had 4 goals in mind:

  • Improve public transport system
  • Restrict private automobile use
  • Expand and improve bicycle paths
  • Enhance public space

Mayor Penalosa created a team, separate and external to his own administration, to oversee the implementation of a new transport system.

The Municipality created the company Transmilenio S.A. to plan, organize, and construct the transportation infrastructure, as well as to supervise the bus service.

System Operations:

  • Transmilenio is responsible for all areas of infrastructure, such as segregated lanes, stations, terminals and their upkeep, along with all areas of finance.
  • Transmilenio oversees all Finances, as Transmilenio pays each operator according to each specific contract.
  • Buses (including drivers) are contracted through private firms/operators.
  • There are over 15 operators in areas of buses, fare collecting, maintenance, communications, etc.

Bus Network Infrastructure:

  • The System operates 18 hours every day.
  • Dedicated lanes, large capacity buses and elevated bus stations that allow pre-board ticketing and fast boarding.
  • Smaller units offering feeder services to main stations are integrated into the system.
  • A centralized coordinated fleet control providing monitoring and communications to schedule services and real-time response to contingencies.

Completion of Transmilenio is broken down into three phases:

Phase I:

  • 3 trunk routes (“troncales”):
  • Troncal Autonorte: 10.3 kilometers
  • Troncal Caracas: 21.8 kilometers
  • Troncal Calle 80: 10.1 kilometers
  • 7 feeder buses each with a 215-mile route
  • 4 head or terminal stations (“portales”)
  • 4 midway integration stations (“estaciones intermedias de integración”)
  • 53 single stations
  • 4 garage yards
  • midway garage
  • 29 pedestrian bridges, small squares, platforms/sidewalks, and cycle paths (“ciclorutas”).

Phase II: 

  • 3 trunk routes:
  • Troncal Americas- Calle 13: 12.98 kilometers (began operating in December 2003)
  • Troncal NQS: 19.3 kilometers (December 2005)
  • Troncal Suba: 9.95 kilometers (December 2005)

Phase III:

  • Currently, Transmilenio has completed both Phase I and Phase II and has a total of 84.4 kilometers

Initial investment

Transmilenio was financed by a combination of national and local resources. The national government of Colombia allocated 70% of funds while the municipal government of Bogotá allocated the remaining 30%. The city of Bogotá paid for 30% in three different ways:

  1. Resources taken from privatizing Energia de Bogotá (Bogotá Energy)
  2. A World Bank loan
  3. Obtained resources through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)

Next steps

Transmilenio Phase III will be implemented gradually. By 2012 it is expected that Transmilenio consist of:

  • 3 new trunk routes: 130 km of new dedicated lanes including new bus-stations.
  • Around 1200 new articulated buses with a capacity of 160 passengers, operating on trunk routes and 500 new large buses operating on feeder lines.
  • Daily 1.8 million passengers transported.


  • City committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions can apply this model for quick results.
  • City must be prepared to invest in creation of stations and terminals needed for a rapid bus transit system.
  • City needs to designated and segregate lanes for system.
  • City partners with private sector that is responsible for operational aspects.