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Wednesday, June 26 2019 @ 05:50 PM UTC

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National Assembly Authorizes $20 Million For ATTT

Cars & TransportationThe Budget Committee of the National Assembly approved the transfer of 20 million dollars requested by the Transit Authority (ATTT) to continue the process of modernization of the public transport system in the districts of Panama and San Miguelito.

Part of this money will be used for the payment of compensation to the owners of the old "Red Devils" of the routes of San Pedro, Concepción, Ciudad Bolívar, Alcalde Díaz, Panamá Viejo, Balboa, Felipillo, Nuevo San Juan and Tanara.

The rest of this transfer of 20 million will be invested in the training for drivers who will be part of the new transportation system.

The director of the ATTT, Vega Ventura said they have already started the process of compensation for the internal routes of San Miguelito in a progressive manner. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: Every day there are fewer and fewer of the old "Red Devil" buses on the streets, as more of the new Metro buses are deployed.

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Fines Postponed For Not Having Southern Corridor Card

Cars & TransportationThe mandate to force payment of tolls for the Southern Corridor using only the electronic prepaid cards, which tool effect yesterday, is both illegal and unconstitutional.

This was stated yesterday by the lawyer Victor Martinez, who said he is considering filing a lawsuit against the Transit Authority for having authorized the issuance of fines and tickets against drivers who upon arrival at the toll booths do not have the card, who who do not have sufficient funds on their cards to make the required toll payment.

They are applying a fine for disregarding traffic signals, arguing that this will punish those drivers who do not have the card.

According to Martinez this is an illegal measure, because within the traffic regulations this measure is not specified.

According to the lawyer, those drivers who do not use the Southern Corridor frequently should have the option of paying the toll with cash, and they should not be forced to buy the card.

By not having the card, drivers will be punished, according to transit authorities for disregarding road signs and the fine is $20.

In agreement with Martinez is the lawyer Ernesto Cedeño, who explained that legally unsuspecting drivers cannot be punished because according to the current traffic regulations, the fines that may be imposed by the ATTT for failing to follow road signs can only be for failing to abide by those signs established in the official Manual of Road Signs.

Sanctions Postponed - The implementation of the mandatory use of the electronic card system on the Southern Corridor yesterday streamlined vehicular traffic during peak hours on the road.

According to the manager of the National Highway Company (ENA), Rigoberto Effio, yesterday they expected that the new measure would cause problems on the first day, however he confirmed during a walking tour that the vehicular movement was fluid.

Aldo Macre, Traffic Operations Director of the National Police announced yesterday that the fine of $20 shall not apply during this week.

The presence of traffic policemen, according Macre, is to guide users who will have to adapt to the new system.

More than 60,000 vehicles use the Southern Corridor every day. (Siglo)

Editor's Comment: Whoops. Got to make sure there's a law on the books, before you can fine someone for breaking the law...

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Cost of Gas Going Up On Friday

Cars & TransportationStarting this Friday, January 11, the price of a gallon of 95 octane gasoline will rise 26 cents, according to the National Energy Secretariat.

The previous price of this gallon of gasoline was $3.95 and it will now be $4.21.

While the price of a gallon of 91 octane gasoline, which now costs $3.69 will be $3.88, a rise of 19 cents per gallon.

Meanwhile, the price of a gallon of low-sulfur diesel will experience an increase of 0.07 cents, as it will be sold at $ 3.84 and before it was sold at $3.77.

These prices are valid until Thursday 24 January, an official said. (Prensa)

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More Than 45,000 People Failed To Pick Up Their 2012 License Plates

Cars & TransportationSome 45,000 people in the district of Panama have not picked up their vehicle license plate for 2012, despite a month moratorium given by the Municipality of Panama.

Guillermo Dominguez, Director of Tax Administration, of the Mayor's office of Panama City called for taxpayers to comply with the payment of the road tax, so they can get their license plates and avoid running into problems on the road with the transit authorities.

Dominguez said that for this year, they have just started, and the license plates for the month of January 2013 are being distributed in the different locations that the Municipality of Panama has established.

He warned that vehicle owners who go three consecutive years without paying the road tax, their new license plates will not be made, until they come to the municipal offices to normalize the status of their cars. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: Get your plates, or face stiff fines. The authorities are conducting constant "operations" on the streets. If they catch you with an expired plate they give you a hefty fine and tow your car away. You can't get it back until you've gotten your paperwork up to date. And of course you have to pay all of the fines, towing and storage fees, etc. It's something they are making an effort to enforce.

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Metro Bus and Subway Systems Will Use The Same Payment Systems

Cars & TransportationAlthough the cost of the ticket to board the new Metro subway system currently under construction in Panama City has not yet been determined, it has been confirmed that the payment method will be the same as that being used to pay to board the Metro Bus system.

"We are working with the Metro and all payments will be with a single card," said the manager of the company Sonda, Daniel Guerra, when asked about the possibility. This is being done with the idea that Panama can go move towards a concept of a multi use electronic purse, he said.

Guerra explained that the integration of both services will allow a user to "get off the Metro (subway) and hop on a Metro Bus, all with the same card," which, as he said, will become a model in the region.

Innovations for 2013 - With regard to the electronic purse concept, Guerra said during the first quarter of 2013 they will implement a telephone line to allow users to lodge complaints about the service.

They also intent to introduct new new systems with automatic recharging and other means of electronic payments. They will also implement a service to allow for the customization the Metro Bus cards (to make them personalized for each individual user).

Furthermore, the representative of the company Sonda said during the year they will introduce new card designs, with the goal of allowing users to "feel closer to, and identify with, their cards." (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: Good point. Why should I need a different card in my wallet for all of the things that require swipe card technology? Blockbuster, Price Mart, Metro Bus, Metro Subway, Subway (restaurant), etc? Why not just have one "base" card that all of these companies recognize? In the future I'm sure our credit cards, ATM cards, and all of these other cards will eventually merge into one "electronic wallet."

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Vehicles With Expired License Plates Will Be Towed Away

Cars & TransportationAbout 318 expired license plates have been removed from vehicles in Panama City by municipal officials and Transit Authority in operations being carried out in different parts of the country since Monday, 10 December 2012.

Officials from the Mayor's office reported that they are removing the expired license plates from these vehicles to keep the cars from circulating through the streets illegally.

The spokesman added that the municipality is only authorized to remove the license plates, and the Transit Authority is imposing a $50 fine for contempt.

"Cars that do not have their license plates up to date will be towed away," said Ventura Vega, the Director of the ATTT.

The operations will continue on a permanent basis, and they started at the end of a moratorium period that was granted by the Mayor which lasted for a month, during which time drivers could get caught up to date by paying the back taxes with no fines.

The moratorium ran from 7 November through 7 December 2012, but still more than 22,000 drivers failed to pick up their license plates.

The surprise operations will continue in various parts of the city, so offenders are requested to go to any of the payment centers that have been established by the municipality of Panama City, in order to pay off the debt and to obtain their new license plates, said Guillermo Dominguez, Director of Tax Administration the Mayor of Panama.

The Mayor and ATTT will continue making the mobile operations at strategic points around the city, to detect and punish the owners of cars that are under these conditions.

Payments can be made at any one of the seven service centers located in Pedregal, Plaza Ágora, Las Cumbres, 24 de Diciembre, Parque Lefevre, Ancón and Hatillo. (Siglo)

Editor's Comment: So if you get caught with expired license plates they remove the plates from your car, give you a $50 fine, and tow your car away. This forces you to stop what you're doing, go pay off all of your fines and back fees, get your new plates, go to the impound lot, pay for the towing, screw on your new plates, and drive away.

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Traffic Police and ATTT Conducting Operations Near Shopping Malls

Cars & TransportationWith the payment of the "thirteenth month" today, Friday, 14 December 2012, which will be paid to all employees of private enterprises, the Traffic Operations Division of the National Police and the Transit Authority (ATTT) will intensify surveillance in the streets.

About 70 points of the capital city will be monitored by police officers and the ATTT to preserve the security of the capital, and to try to control the traffic congestion that has intensified this month in the city due to the holidays of the year, said Aldo Macre, director of Transit Operations of the National Police.

Avenues like Ricardo J. Álfaro, Santa Elena, and Via Transístmica are some of the places where they will be making "strong operations" to streamline vehicular traffic early on, he said.

Police officers are also deployed at the all of the malls - Albrook Mall, Metro Mall, Los Pueblos, Los Andes, Multiplaza and Multicentro - to not congested main roads of the city.

In addition, the officer asked the citizenship when entering the mall parking lots to park their cars properly in designated parking spaces, because if people improvise or park on the roads they occupy traffic lanes, and this causes traffic congestion. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: All of the malls are open until 10:00 pm today. People have money in their pockets, and Christmas shopping is in full swing.

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Joint ATTT and Municipality Operation Against Expired License Plates

Cars & TransportationThe Municipality of Panama in conjunction with the Transit Authority started an operation on Monday night to catch those with expired license plates, which will continue during the entire month of December in the Capital district.

According to Guillermo Dominguez, of the Municipality of Panama, the municipality verifies if the plate is registered, and then after this the ATTT intervenes by applying the appropriate sanction to the driver, for driving with an expired tag.

The Municipality of Panama has reported that about 12,810 taxpayers took advantage of a moratorium plan that was implemented since last November. The Mayor has indicated that about 35,000 taxpayers are still behind, and have not picked up their new license plates.

On Tuesday morning in the sector of Felipillo about 19 people were caught with expired tags. (Telemetro)

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Heads Up! New One Way Streets in El Cangrejo

Cars & TransportationTwo streets in the El Cangrejo neighborhood of Panama City are being changed from two way streets to one-way streets.

Panama's Transit Authority announced the change, which will affect Calle 49 A Oeste and Calle 49 B Oeste.

The change will take effect at 6:00 am on Wednesday, 12 December 2012.

In more detail, the ATTT reported that Calle 49 A Oeste will change to one-way, from the La Salle school on Calle San Juan Bautista towards Ave. Argentina.

While Calle 49 B Oeste will be one-way, from Ave. Argentina towards Calle San Juan Bautista. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: In the diagram, "Einstein's Head" is located at the triangle. If you go up that hill towards the La Salle school and Transistmica, these are the two roads on your left.

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Speed Trap Cameras Going Active Again

Cars & Transportation The company Traffic Safety, S.A. will not be getting 65% of the money generated from the speeding tickets imposed through their cameras.

According to the Transit Authority the company will receive 35% of the money generated using their system.

The parties agreed to this change, after Traffic Safety won a tender in which there was no competition.

The contract was signed on behalf of Traffic Safety by Ricardo Chanis Correa, who is a member of the Board of Directors of the Caja de Ahorros state owned bank and the President of the Grupo Editorial Epasa (Panama America newspaper). (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: There was a burst of news when these cameras first went active in the area of Costa del Este. All of a sudden people were being handed speeding tickets for going 1 mile an hour over the limit. So this contract came to light, and it was learned that the company was going to be getting 65% of the fines generated. That has since been modified, but it's still "good business" at 35%. La Prensa points out the apparent conflict of interest with Ricardo Chanis Correa as well, and their news nemesis the Epasa Group.

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