(A vocation day post from Brooke’s visits in Santa Rosa – photos to come!)
Our group settled first into Santa Rosa within the providence of the La Pampa. Santa Rosa is a community of approximately 200,000 inhabitants and a downtown about the size of downtown Boise. I was welcomed into Patricia Jensens’ a Rotarian who has been with the Santa Rosa club for little more than a year, her and her dog Miglonga made my stay very special.
Alejandro (see photo below) was the first Rotarian who met with me, he was fabulous at introducing me to the transit system in Santa Rosa. The system is ran similar to the system in Boise. The local government accepts bids from multiple contractors and the contractor provides the buses, service and drivers. The local government determines the route and the length of service. The service is a fixed route service with designated stops, however, as a pedestrian you would have no idea where the stops were, as they are not clearly marked, unless you come across a covered shelter, other than that the community members just knew where to go get on the bus. The bus serves majority of low income, elderly and seniors.
I observed the following items as being a continued issues for the service in Santa Rosa.
*Majority of the service is on dirt roads and the local municipality has not upgraded those roads to accommodate buses. The continued use of the buses on the dirt roads are creating a very large expense for maintenance. In addition, the ADA ramps on the buses when deployed on the dirt make it difficult for the bus, when a chair is wheeled onto the ramp the weight of the chair causes the bus to tilt and eventually the ramps break.
Service is not delivered where it should be, for instance before the municipality serves particular low-income housing, they insist on a route from other low-income areas with connection to the casino.
* Lack of signage identifying the bus stops.
I would say I am very impressed with their inter-city buses system. You can board very luxury buses allowing you to get all over Argentina. The buses are double decker with about 50 seats, they are either leather (see photo below) or cloth and fold all the way back with a footstool. They serve large meals and to top it off, a whiskey night cap! The buses are driven by two drivers and the driver have their own private sleeping chambers, in an 18 hour trip they stop only twice! And if you really do not like the person your sitting next to, you can just pull your curtain and tune them out. We can really learn from their inter-city busing, impressive!
A special thank you to all my guides who took me around Santa Rosa to check out their transit system, Esteban, Alejandro and Patricia and a special appreciation to the General Manager of Grupo Plaza Ing. Roberto Lopez & Coordinator Operativo Jorge Fontanazza. Thank you for all your hospitality!
– Brooke Green