In a forward-looking city, development efforts and progress support a common objective: to improve people’s quality of life. Bogotá is the very reflection of a cosmopolitan city. Its cultural diversity, rapid population growth and the development of its infrastructure have the region focusing on its track record and performance.
Colombia’s capital contributes 25 percent of the country’s GDP and its production of goods and services exceeds that of other notable Latin American economies like Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panamá. Similarly, its population growth has reached historic levels. Bogotá is currently home to over 8 million residents, which is equivalent to the entire population of Switzerland.
However, as with most cities around the world, its growth has been accompanied by challenges. Public transportation is a clear example. According to the INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard, Bogotá is rated sixth in the world among cities where people spend the most time on public transportation. It ranks second in South America, and first in that category in Colombia. On average, the people of Bogotá spend 75 hours in traffic each year.
Purchases of personal vehicles have also shot up in recent years. According to information from the National Industrial Association (ANDI), by December 2018, the city will have a record 250,000 registered cars, representing an average monthly increase of 9 percent.
For these reasons, public transportation plays a significant role in citizens’ ability to get around the city. At Mastercard, we’ve created solutions to improve the commuter experience in different cities around the country. One example is in Bogotá, where we’ve partnered with Transmilenio, the main mass transportation service, and our partner banks to develop a hybrid debit card that allows users to access the system, while also offering traditional payment capabilities at any business.
For a transportation system that moves 2.5 million passengers daily, this technology has been vital in decongesting the system, streamlining the flow of passengers and reducing lines at the replenishment points for traditional cards. Economically, according to Transmilenio, it has meant direct savings of $650,000.
This groundbreaking technology, which has provided tangible benefits to transportation challenges in Bogotá, has been replicated in other cities around the country like Medellín, Barranquilla, Cali and Pereira.
In this case, we’ve put technology to work for the people, to address one of the major inconveniences associated with urban living.
Scalable, system-wide solutions like these are just an example of what can be accomplished when civil society, the private sector and public decision makers work together to advance a common goal. It’s a powerful demonstration of what we can make possible through the power of partnership.