Jorge brings in knowledge of Bus Rapid Transit
Jorge Suarez is one of the members of the Volvo Buses City Mobility team. He can contribute his in-depth knowledge of South America and the development of BRT, Bus Rapid Transit, a system comprising specially created bus lanes.
This system was developed in Curitiba in Brazil in the 1970s and has been refined in places including the capital of Colombia, Bogotá, which is also Jorge Suarez’s home town.
He describes a dirty city, in which few people really enjoy living, and a mayor looking to change things.
“I saw how the new bus system developed and how it improved the city. I saw just how ingenious the specially designed bus stops were, where low-floor buses were able to stop and quickly allow passengers to disembark and board, rather than stopping at every street corner. I also saw how stations with lighting reduced criminality and how much cleaner and attractive things became,” he says.
This made an enormous impression on Jorge Suarez and so he started studying traffic planning and the transport environment and, when he was given a job at Volvo Buses in Mexico City, he took his inspiration from Bogotá and helped to create a similar system in the city with a population of 20 million people.
“Most of the people working as sales staff started out as engineers. As I didn’t have this knowledge, I had to take advantage of my experience of traffic planning and use it to conduct a dialogue with the city’s politicians,” he explains.
There are now about 250 BRT systems of different kinds all over the world. The Volvo Group is involved in 30 cities in 18 countries.
“That’s a really large number! We’re important players,” he says.
According to Jorge Suarez, communication and co-ordination are the next important steps in the development of the world’s public transport.
“People move about for different reasons. They don’t travel simply for the sake of it. Our role is to facilitate things as much as possible using technical solutions and passenger services,” he says and adds that it is a question of introducing other means of transport.
“I can envisage a system in the future in which buses, rental bicycles and trams, for example, are included in a common concept in which the inhabitants of a city can combine their means of transport, depending on where they are heading. There is currently a trend for people to move back to the city from the suburbs to avoid having to travel so much. This is where we need to establish our solutions,” says Jorge Suarez.