Bogotá Mayor Enrique Peñalosa yesterday formally appointed María Consuelo Araújo as the new head of the capital’s TransMilenio bus rapid transit system.
Araújo, who previously served as Colombia’s minister of foreign affairs and minister of culture, will assume leadership of Bogotá’s primary public transportation network as it is beginning to undergo an expansion at the same time the city moves forward with its first metro rail system.
Photo: Bogotá Mayor Enrique Peñalosa formally welcomes María Consuelo Araújo as the new head of the capital’s TransMilenio bus rapid transit system. (Credit: Alcaldía de Bogotá)
Araújo, who studied finance and international relations at Externado University in Colombia and government and public affairs at the University of Columbia in New York, most recently was the secretary of social integration in the mayor’s office and earlier served as CEO of Gran Colombia Gold, a Canadian gold mining company that has faced some controversy in the country for its operating practices.
While Bogotá remains one of the largest cities in the world without a proper metro, the TransMilenio system that was introduced in the late-1990s has been routinely cited as a major success story of public transportation. It is regularly noted by city planners and transport experts in international studies and has served as a model for many cities across the world that have introduced similar bus systems.
Now, with the capital’s population growing significantly since the dedicated bus-lane system was launched and traffic more congested than ever, the system is scheduled for expansion. Along with an elevated metro, which Peñalosa has been touting since his election in 2015, the TransMilenio is slated to grow significantly.
And now María Consuelo Araújo, who Peñalosa welcomed on Twitter by calling a “formidable public manager,” will be overseeing that project as the planning phase moves past the financing stage and ground is actually broken.