The “Vamos Vecinos” (Let’s Go, Neighbors!) initiative has just been launched by the Buenos Aires City government, and one of its activations, “Grandes Choferes” (Great Drivers) centers around celebrating its best bus drivers.
Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, Mayor of the City of Buenos Aires, pitched the idea to the Minister of Transport, Guillermo Dietrich. The “Grandes Choferes” initiative is described as a project to “recognize the good attitude which favors well-being and convenience within the city,” in this case between the users of public transport and the drivers.
Other projects from the “Vamos Vecinos” initiative include “La Cuadra Más Limpia” (“The Cleanest Block”) which celebrates the greenest and best maintained sidewalks of Buenos Aires, and the “Conductores Responsables” plan, which will award 20 drivers who submit to a breathalyzer and achieve a negative result with a year’s worth of car registration fees.
Whoever takes one of the 137 bus lines of the Argentine capital city will be able to vote and recognize which driver respects the speed limit, which driver gets a little too close to the cars driving in the next lane, and which one prioritizes pedestrians at crosswalks.
Each month, four of the top drivers will win a trip to a national tourist destination; among the citizens that vote, one will be recognized with a year of free trips using their SUBE card. Efficient drivers will also have a chance (or the bad luck) to have an artist or a band performing on their bus as a prize for their good conduct. The jury’s still out if having a working air conditioning helps their chances.
OTRO DIA DE CALOR EN BUENOS AIRES Y LOS COLLECTIVOS NO PRENDEN EL AIRE ACONDICIONADO…LO DEJARAN DE ADORNO ESTE AÑO…??
— Ricardo Pareto (@ricardo_pareto) November 12, 2016
Votes will be cast online through the City’s website and social networks. Another option will be to call 147, the City’s free number.
Although the project seems amusing enough, some could view it as the continuation of the Uberization of our society. Assigning a rating or score to some drivers will celebrate the best, but perhaps could also sanction the worst, in the same manner that Uber and other service-oriented apps function. Inviting consumers to rate someone else is part of our society’s “new normal,” where restaurants, hotels, or shops are subject to customer comments and reviews, and where a person’s job could be lost because of bad feedback. In a world where China puts a grade on its citizens to keep them under control, it begs the question: Was this new system put in place to celebrate the good drivers, or to discipline the bad ones?