Merida [VE] - Considerable infrastructure damage
K. Budach - 19.05.14
Due to political unrest, the trolley bus network and BRT system in Mérida, Venezuela has taken considerable infrastructure damage during the past few months. About 50 different installations were damaged, including most of the stops along the dedicated bus lane. In the mean time, most of the repairs have been completed and traffic is once again running normally.
Line 1 continues to operate only on a part of the intended route, running merely from Mercado Periférico to Terminal Ejido. Timetabled services are limited to 6:00 - 10:00 and 15:00 17:30 from Mondays to Fridays. Additionally, there are buses running from 7:00 11:00 and 16:00 20:00 on Saturdays as well as 10:00 19:00 on Sundays and public holidays.
A new trial operation now includes the use of the dedicated fast lane by Chinese-built diesel buses. These are to form an express service covering a longer route. Given the uncertain political situation, it is not yet clear if at least the electrification of line 1 will be completed and the trolley wires will eventually reach the city center.
Staff members from the other Venezuelan trolleybus system in Barquisimeto have been dispatched to Mérida for training purposes, although it is not yet certain if electric traction will become a permanent transportation asset there. The training of the Barquisimeto drivers has focused on operating vehicles in the dedicated bus lane as well as calling at stations with fixed platforms.
Translation: Andrew Thompson
One of the Spanish-built articulated units is seen on the dedicated bus lane. Image: Tromerca