Who gains in a distance-based public transport fare scheme? Accessibility, urban form, and equity implications in Santiago, Chile


Chapter 16 – Who gains in a distance-based public transport fare scheme? Accessibility, urban form, and equity implications in Santiago, Chile
AuthorIgnacioTiznado-Aitken, Juan Carlos Muñoz, Ricardo Hurtubia
Line(s)Access and Mobility
Year of Publication2021
Journal TitleUrban Form and Accessibility
Accessibility, Urban form, Equity, Public transport, Flat fare scheme, Distance-based fare scheme, Santiago, Chile
Latin American cities show deep sociospatial inequalities and urban segregation. This unequal scenario raises key challenges regarding accessibility and affordability of transport and housing, especially for the most vulnerable population which usually experiences the consequences of spatial mismatch. In Santiago de Chile, 60% of households do not own a car and depend on public transport for daily mobility. Moreover, Santiago shows a somewhat monocentric structure, oriented toward the wealthiest neighborhoods which could exacerbate the difficulty of accessing opportunities for some socioeconomic segments of the population.In this chapter, the current flat fare scheme in the public transport system of Santiago de Chile is analyzed through the lens of accessibility, affordability, and equity. Using a smart card database with route distances and travel time estimations and sociodemographic data at the municipality level, the implications of a distance-based charge are examined. Accessibility levels between a flat fare and distance-based fare scheme are compared in the current land use scenario as well as the equity outcomes within the city for the different fare schemes, analyzing whether either could be a progressive policy to benefit low-income populations in the city through the provision of more affordable access to opportunities.

The results show that the current flat fare scheme in Transantiago is preferable to a distance-based scheme. People living in 62% of the municipalities in Santiago would pay more with a distance-based scheme. Twelve of the municipalities have over 50% of their population in the two lowest income quintiles and these groups would be harmed by a 30% average fare increase required under a distance-based fare scheme. Unsurprisingly, seven peripheral zones of the city, located mainly in the south, are the most harmed, paying on average 57% more per each public transport trip under the distance-based fare scheme. Furthermore the distance-based fare exacerbates the current accessibility problems in the city, increasing the generalized travel cost up to 25% for residents of some municipalities.

Corresponding AuthorRicardo Hurtubia rhg@ing.puc.cl