Bus Strike This Morning Produced Mixed Results
Tuesday, August 11 2009 @ 09:37 AM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
The ATTT Buses: One of the things the government did was to put the fleet of 30 buses purchased under the failed Martin Torrijos "Transmovil" program back onto the streets to move passengers, which had some effect. They also got the Northern and Southern Corridors to open their toll booths and allow everyone to transit with not tolls today, because people who normally take the bus to work were instead driving their cars. In places like Santa Librada and Veranillo service has returned to normal. There was a strong police presence to prevent any kind of conflict between those bus drivers who supported the strike and those who decided to drive anyway.
Demanding Stronger Action: The general will of the people is for the administration of Ricardo Martinelli to take much stronger action against this handful of bus owners who basically have the public transportation system by the balls. If Martinelli does take much more drastic actions, they would be met with resounding applause from all sectors - except the bus drivers of course. But, on every bus there are more than 40 passengers and just one owner or driver, so they are literally outnumbered by definition. The much more "popular" course of action would be to clamp down hard.
Bus Strikes Are Illegal: Under Panamanian law the bus owners literally can't strike legally. They have been granted a concession by the government to provide transportation services. If at any time the refuse to provide that service then the government can cancel their "cupo" (concession), pull the plates off of the bus, and then turn around and give that permission to someone else.
Meeting This Afternoon: The bus owners and drivers will be having a meeting this afternoon at 4:00 pm in their offices in the Albrook Bus Terminal to decide if they will extend the strike for another day, or to call it quits after one day. At this point it has not been decided yet.
Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.