Transit chaos in Bogota, Colombia

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Wednesday, May 3, 2006

As managers of local transit companies tend to boycott developments of transit rules in Bogotá, the whole transportation system was a complete chaos on Tuesday (2).

The local Administration intends to develop the year 2000-stablished Transmilenio system, and to accomplish that, old buses must be removed from main routes and from active service. The protest included a complete halt of public service, and people recurred to private cars, trucks, and cabs for transportation. Bogotá has in place an already strange rule to stop the movement of cars around the city depending on the day of week and the last number of the license plate. Such a rule was cancelled for the time the protest continues, and other measures were announced by the Mayor Luis Eduardo Garzón. Garzón hinted several penalties will be applied to those who omit showing to the streets to give service, going from a buch of hundreds of dollars, to the total cancellation of transit licenses for Bus companies (Already in the past those measures were announced with no real effect and no real sanctions).

The protest was also infiltrated by people who damaged more than 70 machines of the Transmilenio system, Public schools called the day off and there will be no classes on Wednesday (3). Most public and private corporations and business, sent people home by 14:00 local time (19:00 UTC), to help avoid security problems.