Piñera’s administration scraps Transantiago tender

SANTIAGO – Chile’s Minister of Transport and Telecommunications Gloria Hutt has declared the Transantiago tender void, adding that the process will start from scratch with the new administration.

The minister explained to the media that the process “was carried out in an improvised way, without considering the interest of the users, with the wrong incentives that can lead us, even, to the situation that we remember all of bad service of the year 2007. Pay mainly for the kilometers traveled is a clear incentive to mobilize buses and not people.”

The tender sought the renewal of the bus fleet, establishing new incentives and penalties for failures. In addition, it included a new payment scheme for companies that adhered to the process.

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Last Tuesday, the Court of Defense of Free Competition (TDLC) accepted a protection appeal presented by the portfolio to lift the precautionary measure that suspended the tender last January, after an interested company accused that the process prevented the entry of new actors.

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After hearing this news, former Transport Minister Paola Tapia wrote in her Twitter account that “it is a technical and political error to decide not to continue with the bidding process, which was validated by the Comptroller General’s Office and the TDLC.”

The former minister added that this decision “is not up to the circumstances of what public transport users require and neither the solutions nor how to carry out a new bidding process is explained”.

Meanwhile, former minister Andrés Gómez-Lobo commented through the same means that this statement is a “terrible news for users and the Treasury” and that “condemns users to continue suffering with the old fleet and renegotiate behind closed doors with current operators to extend their contracts, and without any compelling reason to do so.”

Meanwhile, former transport undersecretary Carlos Melo said that “it would be good for Minister Hutt to explain why she considers the process so bad now, and a few months ago as a consultant for a participating company she recommended participating in it.”

Melo added that “it refers to improvisation, and a decision is made without deadlines, costs or clear mechanisms.”

“A Government that talks about agreements and that in practice uses the logic of the backhoe is not up to what citizens require.”

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For his part, Guillermo Muñoz, former director of Metropolitan Public Transport (DTPM), said that this decision of the Government “is a mistake and a giant irresponsibility” and that the new authorities “do not even know how they are going to face the process that is it comes.”

Finally, Socialist Senator Juan Pablo Letelier, president of the Senate Transportation Committee, said that “starting from scratch a new tender for Transantiago will have a negative impact on the service and will be more expensive”.

The ex-tender of the Transantiago, proposed during the Government of Michelle Bachelet, contemplated the renovation of 50 percent of the machines in the fleet of the questioned capital transport system.