Raúl Ramos is an ERASMUS exchange PhD candidate from Colombia studying at the Catholic University in Chile. He has been with us since November 2021, and will leave in September 2022. Asking what exactly made him come to the VU, he answers: ‘My advisor in Chile – Hugo Silva – did his Ph.D. here. He recommended VU to me, the professors, and also the city. An easy decision for me.’
Raúl’s research interests cover public transport design and pricing, fare evasion on urban buses, and public transport PPP contract design. ‘More specifically, right now, under the supervision of Erik Verhoef, I am working on fare evasion or free-riding on public transport, which is people who don’t pay their fare on buses and trams, an important problem in Santiago, Chile, and other cities in Latin America. I am trying to understand how this behaviour impacts the optimal design and pricing of public transport.’
Mixture of cultures
Raúl has had a great time in Amsterdam. ‘I love the diversity in Amsterdam; you find people from different parts of the world. Also, daily life is really good. I love biking, and Amsterdam is a biking city. Also, the parks, museums, the night life, is really interesting. In addition, I got to know lots of people, I mingled with other researchers. Not specifically Dutch people, but with other international researchers. That was a great experience for me. A mixture of different cultures.’
Also working at the Department of Spatial Economics was great. ‘It was really interesting, everybody was really good to me, helpful and friendly. Facilitation was really good. Everything I needed was there. I took part in some courses too, which was enriching. My stay at the department was good in every sense.’ Raúl is very happy to have had a chance to stay in Amsterdam within the framework of ERASMUS and would recommend it to every student. We wish him all the best!