Transantiago tenders face uncertainty

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Less than a month before Chile's government changes, one of the outgoing administration's last tenders – the contract for over half the routes of Santiago's Transantiago bus system – is now likely to end up with the new administration, as a free competition tribunal rejected an appeal that sought to lift the suspension of the process, court documents show.

Last month, this tribunal halted the bidding process, which started in October, just as bids were about to be opened, upon request from transport and investment company Transanber which has alleged irregularities.

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In statements to Tele 13 Radio, transport minister Paola Tapia called the ruling "paradoxical" as "it generates less competition, because direct negotiations will have to be done" for the concessions.

As Tapia confirmed the government is studying an appropriate response, she admitted that the execution of the contracts will fall to the next government.

In this regard, sources linked to the next administration told daily El Mercurio last weekend that president-elect Sebastián Piñera's team is mulling to start the process over from scratch.

As part of his program, Piñera proposed ending Transantiago within 10 years and replace it with a "Third Millennium Transport Plan," which would include the expansion of the subway system.