A few days ago, a delegation from Da Nang, Vietnam, visited Pereira’s Megabus mass transit system.
Despite differences between the cities and countries, the visit to Megabus can help the Vietnamese develop a similar public transport project in Da Nang. That is why they found it useful to get to know the Pereira experience, including its accomplishments and challenges.
“We learned many lessons, among them the importance of the political will of the local and national governments to implement this type of project, community involvement, the positive community attitude regarding the system, and the use of technology,” said Dang Viet Dung, Director General of Transit of Da Nang.
In Vietnam about 80 percent of trips are by motorcycle, while in Pereira about 45 percent of the population uses public transport. However, Da Nang and Pereira are similar in terms of the size and width of their streets.
The project’s social involvement
An important part of the visit, in addition to riding the system, was to see how the public was involved in the project, through many community town meetings to explain the project, its impact and size in the city, and the follow-up provided for persons adversely affected by the construction of the works.
“In both countries there are households with various family members—grandparents, uncles and aunts, and parents—living under the same roof. The social involvement programs must take this and other factors into account so as not to break family ties when a project is implemented,” said Mauricio Cuellar, a World Bank transportation expert.