The Resiliency of Informal Transport in Quito, Ecuador: Users' perspectives

Authors: Vanessa Guerra*, Virginia Tech
Topics: Transportation Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, Latin America
Keywords: informal transport, social justice, inequality, segregation, sustainable transport, latinamerica
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Council Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


As cities deal with the effects of population growth, informal car share (ICS) is increasingly becoming more common. ICS is the use of private vehicles to provide transportation for a fare that are neither taxed nor monitored by any type of government. Although this practice contributes significantly to development, it is often stigmatized as an urban mistake and little is known about it. The purpose of this research is to characterize ICS under normal conditions and describe what types of disruptions ICS experience and the effects of these disruptions on the system. A community from the city of Quito, Ecuador was used as an analytical case study because of its similarity with many other developing cities within the Andean region of Latin America. 5 semi-structured interviews were conducted with ICS users. Results were coded by themes. The results indicate Quito’s ICS operates similar to more formal transportation systems with fixed stops, schedules and fares. ICS is constantly interrupted by natural and political disruptions such as floods, political protests, and police inspections. Yet, users of ICS describe learning to maneuver around all of these disruptions, except for police inspections, which prevents the system for hours or an entire day. Surprisingly, disruptions do not lead to demand surges or fare increases. Research is ongoing to further explore ICS’s features in other communities and the strategies drivers use to overcome service disruptions. New regulations to formalize ICS could help change the stigma, reduce service disruptions from police inspections and contribute to improve safety.

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