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Wednesday, June 26 2019 @ 05:50 PM UTC

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New Metro Bus "Crossing Routes" Will Start on Tuesday

Cars & TransportationStarting on Tuesday Metro Bus users will have three new "transverse" routes to use: Vía Brasil - Avenida Federico Boyd, El Dorado - Betania - Avenida La Paz, and route on the extension of Villa Rica - 12 de Octubre - Via Porras, reported the Transit Authority (ATTT).

With the Via Brasil - Ave. Federico Boyd crossing route, they seek to connect two of the major trunk routes in Panama City: Tumba Muerto, Transistmica, Via España, Ave. Israel and Cincuentenario.

This will allow users who previously had to go to Perejil, El Marañón or the bus terminal at Albrook to make their connections will now be able to get to the center of the capital, saving time.

Meanwhile, the El Dorado - Betania - Avenida La Paz crossing route aims to give the residents of Bethania transportation service which has not been operating for years, and therefore they will have the option of making transfers to the trunk routes of Via Transismica or Tumba Muerto.

The route in Villa Rica currently makes its way into Pueblo Nuevo, and is limited to Vía Fernández de Córdoba and Vía España. This route is being extended to include the sector of Parque Lefevre and will connect with Ave Cincuentenario and Vía Porras.

Signs for the Metro Bus system have already been placed along these routes, so that people can people can easily locate the places where they can either board or get off of the bus. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: I think this is the biggest advantage of the Metro Bus system. Now the government can simply change and manipulate the routes and coverage to improve the service as needed. Before, each route was in the hands of a private operator and that meant money, so they system was rife with graft and corruption. The Metro Bus system is a massively huge upgrade in many ways. Most of the bus routes in Panama City basically run East - West. These crossing routes will be running basically North - South in order to connect the "trunk" routes.

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Traffic Police Tow 30 Vehicles During Surprise Inspections

Cars & TransportationThe Traffic Police towed a total of 30 cars during an operation conducted this morning in the area of El Parador, in Juan Diaz.

The operation took place early this morning.

They found unlicensed drivers and others with expired licenses, as well as other traffic violations. In addition to the 30 cars that were towed, a total of 50 traffic tickets were issued for the various infractions. (Dia a Dia)

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Traffic Congestion Forms On First Day Of School

Cars & TransportationWith the addition of school buses and parents who are transporting students to the first day of classes, it didn't take long for traffic congestion to form.

The traffic was worst in areas such as the Southern Corridor, the Northern Corridor, El Balboa, Juan Diaz, Clayton, and others.

The transit authority had established an operation to try to ease traffic, especially in areas with a high flow of traffic, such as the Ave. Domingo Diaz, Via Israel, and others. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: The traffic is always worst on today, the very first day of school. Tomorrow parents won't be driving their kids to their new schools, so it will just be the little yellow school buses running around to pick them up. And sooner or later all of the work being done in Panama City to build new bridges and infrastructure, and the Metro Subway system will be done. So, you can probably mark today on your calendar as the "worst ever" day of traffic, and things can only get better from here. Or, at least we can hope.

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Users Ask For A New Law To Punish The "No Voy" Taxi Drivers

Cars & TransportationMembers of the Transport Committee in the National Assembly have not considered the project to legalize pirate taxis, while users who live in the Western part of the province of Panama continue to use this illegal service.

The bill proposing the legalization of pirate taxis will not be discussed until the Transit Authority and carrier groups present their proposals.

The initiative has been rejected from the groups of organized carriers, however those providing the service illegally think that it should be regulated.

The complaints over poor transportation service don't only occur in this zone of the country, because in the center of the city people who use the taxi services also suffer.

The users are asking for a new law to be drafted what would force taxi drivers to take them to their destinations, to do away with the famous "I'm not going that way" response given to them by many taxi drivers.

In Panama, even though it is a public service, taxi drivers are free to choose whether or not to take fares, and to pick up fares who are going to different destinations without having to obtain the authorization from the passengers who they are transporting. (TVN)

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Traffic Police Considering A Plan To Ease Return to Panama City

Cars & TransportationCommissioner Aldo Macre, of the Direction of Traffic Operations of the National Police, announced today they are considering the possibility of implementing an operation to speed the return of vehicles to Panama City from the interior of the country.

Their plan is based on changing the direction of traffic on all of the lanes of the highway from La Chorrera to Arraiján, so that cars can only use the roadway to get to Panama City.

"We are still studying the probability of making a change so that all six lanes of the highway from La Chorrera to Arraiján will move in the same direction, said Macre in a press conference.

He said the staff of the Transportation Authority are studying the plan to determine what would be required to make this change.

On another subject, he said to date there have been 307 motor vehicle accidents during Carnival.

Of those 258 were collisions, 16 cars rolled over, 10 people were run over, and there were 21 crashes.

According to the director of the National Civil Protection System, Arturo Alvarado, about 100,000 vehicles have moved from Panama City to the interior of the country.

Infractions Increased During Carnival - Despite the efforts made by the National Government to put more than 20 thousand employees from the different public security sectors on the streets to help protect the population, the director of the Transit Authority Vega Ventura lamented the fact that many people have not complied with the directions issued.

Thus, for example, he said the figures regarding tickets issued for speeding and drunken driving have increased significantly compared to the previous year.

Last year during the Carnival 890 tickets were imposed for speeding, while so far this year the authorities have issued 1,265 speeding tickets.

In 2012 the authorities issued 134 tickets for driving while intoxicated, while so far this year they have already issued 331 tickets.

Vega was concerned about the situation, since he said these figures are "very high" and he urged people to follow the traffic signs, obey the law, and respect the relevant indications. He added that last year they towed away 277 vehicles, while so far this year they have already towed 540.

He said that today, Tuesday, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon the ATTT offices in Las Tablas, Santiago and Penonomé will be open so people can make the appropriate inquiries and retrieve their cars.

Vega, concluded by making an overall comparison in terms of the numbers of traffic tickets issued, and said during Carnival 2012 they issued a total of 2,499 traffic tickets, while so far this year in 2013 they have unfortunately exceeded that number by issuing 4,493 infractions.

In 2012 there were 177 traffic accidents, and so far this year there have been 276.

Vega made his statements during a joint press conference presented by the various agencies of state security, including the National System of Civil Protection, the National Police, the State Border Service, the National Aero Naval Service, and the Traffic Authority. (Prensa)

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National Bus Transportation System Ramping Up For Carnival "Exodus"

Cars & TransportationSeveral of the transportation bus routes are preparing to move, starting tomorrow, the exodus of people who want to leave Panama City towards the interior of the country for Carnival celebrations.

Some 234 buses, among them serving the routes from David-Panamá, and to Chitré, Las Tablasm and Penonomé, will be available to travelers departing from the National Transportation Terminal at Albrook.

All of these routes will be providing service 24 hours per day. Passengers will only be allowed to take two bags per person (additional bags can be taken for a fee.)

Omis González, of the Las Tablas-Panamá route served by about 45 buses, told the Panama America that most people will be traveling on Saturday and Sunday to the areas where Carnival celebrations will be held.

For this reason if they need help they always maintain open communications with the service providers from other routes nationwide who can provide support if needed.

Meanwhile, Nicholas Rivera, the manager of the David-Panama terminal, said that more people use the bus transportation system at this time during Carnivals than at any other time during the year.

Rivera said measures to control luggage, as well as safety and security are being implemented, in order to avoid problems.

He said buses are scheduled to leave every half hour, and the express buses leave every hour. (Panama America)

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Boston lands nonstop Latin America service on Copa Airlines

Cars & TransportationBen Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY - Copa Airlines will make Boston its newest U.S. gateway, saying it will launch flights to its Panama City hub this July. The carrier will fly one daily round-trip flight on Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

Boston Logan Airport officials say the flight will be the city's first-ever regularly scheduled nonstop link to Panama.

"We are extremely pleased to launch the only nonstop service between Boston, an important academic, business and tourist destination, and Panama," Copa CEO Pedro Heilbron says in a release announcing the new route. "Copa's new flight will offer not only the fastest and most direct way to fly from Boston to Panama; it also will provide Boston-area business and leisure travelers the most convenient connections to many other destinations in Latin America, including Brazil; Colombia; San José, Costa Rica; Lima, Peru; and Santiago, Chile.''

Boston will become Copa's eighth U.S. destination. The others are: Chicago O'Hare, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York JFK, Orlando and Washington Dulles.

Airport officials in Boston say that prior to Copa's new route, Boston had been the biggest U.S. market without nonstop service to Latin America.

"Nonstop service to Latin America will open up new opportunities to allow Massachusetts businesses to compete in the 21st century global marketplace," Gov. Deval Patrick says in a release. "The service will increase tourism here at home and connect our residents with friends and family in Latin America."

The Massachusetts Port Authority that runs Boston Logan notes Copa's new Boston-Panama City service was fostered by the agency's International Air Service Incentive Program.

That, Massport notes, "applies to new nonstop international service to destinations in Asia, Central America, South America, Africa, and the Middle East. The incentive program includes landing fee credits and joint advertising opportunities."

Massport says the goal of the program "is not … to subsidize a service that is not likely to be self-sufficient, but to help minimize the initial business risk of the air carrier. In doing so, Massport also expects to improve utilization of Boston Logan's international Terminal E, as Asia, Latin America and Middle East flights would operate during current off-peak hours. Massport is undertaking the program to compete with other airports around the country, most of which offer some type of financial incentive to attract new international air service."

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About 75,000 People Circulating With Expired Drivers Licences

Cars & TransportationAbout 75 thousand people in Panama have expired driver's licenses, most of them are still driving around illegally, according to a study by Sertracen and the Transit Authority.

To counter the situation the Director of the ATTT Ventura Vega during the operations they routinely perform, anyone found to be driving with an expired license will have their car towed away and impounded.

Vega called these drivers "criminals at the wheel" and said in his opinion "anyone who is driving with an expired license is doing so probably because they have not paid for their license plates, and if they have not received their license plates or had their car inspected, then they are even less safe."

He said during the upcoming Carnival celebrations they will install checkpoints in La Chorrera, Colón, in the Eastern part of the province of Panama, and in other areas.

He announced on the Telemetro morning news that soon the public will be able to do most of the paperwork for renewals and replacements of lost drivers licenses quickly and easily through the ATTT website. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: If you get stopped at a checkpoint and ticketed for an expired drivers license, they can (and will) tow your car away - but only if there is no one else available to drive your car for you. If this happens you can and should get on your cell phone, dial a friend, and have them hop in a taxi to come to your rescue. Once that person arrives and shows their drivers license to the cops, they can drive your car away for you. And of course you will have to do the paperwork, renew your license, etc. They always take advantage of these Carnival events to create checkpoints and examine documents, in an attempt to catch and ticket scofflaws.

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Initiative Would Legalize "Pirate" Taxis

Cars & TransportationThe representative of the 23 October Movement, David Ramirez, applauded this Tuesday, Jan. 22, the draft bill submitted by Deputy Tito Rodriguez to legalize pirate transportation in the districts of Arraiján, La Chorrera, San Miguelito and Panamá (East).

The proposal is to grant the drivers of the pirate taxis a permit for two years (time necessary to find out if the initiative solves the problem of users) to operate as an alternative due to the demand of people who use them to go to the capital city and vice versa. But Ramirez said the drivers would be granted a temporary operating permit while the paperwork to make them legal is being processed.

Meanwhile, according to Ramirez, the 23 October Movement believes that until a law is passed, it cannot be known if the cars are safe, if they pay taxes, nor those who are driving the vehicles.

Ramirez said the activity is already not just in the Western sector of the province of Panama, and is also being practiced in places such as Las Manañitas and Santa Librada, among others.

According to Rodriguez, the proposal does not mean he favors pirate transport, but is aware of the needs of users, and he sees them as they crowd the bus stops waiting for transportation. "I would not want to be in their shoes," said the deputy. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: This article is about an initiative to legalize "pirate" taxis. Right now there are places in Panama City where you can go to get a ride home. These people have cars or small vans, and they charge a set price to take people to their destinations. They are not "official" taxis or buses. They don't have any sort of distinct license plate, permissions, or inspections. They do not report their income or pay taxes. Before the bus drivers used to try to force these guys out of business, but now that the old "Red Devil" buses are going away, there will be less resistance along those lines. However allow me to point out the obvious. If there are people who congregate at a certain location and they all want to go (for example) from Calidonia to Arraiján, why not just drop a new (special) bus route in there, round them all up, and provide public transportation. Why force them all to go first to the Albrook Bus Terminal to catch a bus over the bridge?

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Special Metro Bus Routes For The Panama Jazz Festival

Cars & TransportationThe Metrobus system will offer special services to the City of Knowledge tomorrow Saturday, 19 January, according to a statement from the City of Knowledge.

This service is for those who want to attend the closing of the Panama Jazz Festival, starting at 1:00 pm.

More than 10,000 people are expected to reach the central quadrangle, where the free concert will be offered featuring Ruben Blades.

The press release says the Metrobus system will be running on its normal route between Albrook and the City of Knowledge, with its usual fare of 0.25. This service will be run until 2:00 am Sunday 20.

Additionally, there will be two special Metrobus routes; one from Amador (Figali Convention Center) and another from the USMA, starting the service at 10:00 am and ending at 2:00 am on Sunday 20. The fee for this service will B/.1.25.

Riders can buy recharge cards at the City of Knowledge, Amador, and the USMA.

Six international bands will play during the event, plus special guest Ruben Blades with the Panama Jazz Festival Big Band. (Mi Diario)

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