Site Meter
Send Us An Email
Panama Guide

Welcome to Panama Guide
Wednesday, June 26 2019 @ 10:01 PM UTC

View Printable Version

Pulled Over For Expired Tags in Panama City (Dash Cam Video)

Cars & TransportationBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - This morning I got pulled over by a couple of cops on bicycles in Panama City at a gas station because the tags on my Jeep are expired. They were staked out at an intersection, doing a visual check of cars driving through an intersection where vehicles get backed due to a traffic signal (intersection of Via Argentina and Tumba Muerto, next to the gas station in El Cangrejo.) I pulled into the gas station on the corner to fill up the tank. A bicycle cop rode up next to the passenger side window, pointed out my tags are expired, and asked for my paperwork. I gave it to him, and he told me to pull over to the side and park in the parking lot. At that point I reached up and spun the dash-cam video around to cover the driver's side window and catch the action. I thought he might try to him me up for a bribe in order to get out of the ticket.

The police officer asked for my driver's license, and he asked if I had any outstanding tickets. This confused me a little bit, because at first I didn't understand what he was asking or why. I also wanted to establish my role as the "slightly deaf and not so good Spanish" gringo, in order to get him to speak up (for the video). He said he was going to call my personal ID number in on the radio to be checked in their "pele police" system, to see if I was wanted for anything. I asked him if they don't carry these little handheld "pele police" devices on them anymore (just out of curiosity) and he said they superiors have them, and they call in to do the checks via radio.

At about this time his partner rode up and asked about the expired tags. I told him yup, they are expired, and I don't have the temporary permission to drive around. So, they caught me, had me dead to rights. I just looked at them, and wanted to see if they were going to start playing the "squeeze you for a bribe" game. I also had the dash-cam spun around and was recording the whole exchange. I think the first cop might have spotted the camera at some point, but I'm not sure.

Then the other cop asked me where I work. I told him I'm the owner of a media outlet, a journalist. I played the "Wild Bill" card - saying "remember that Wild Bill guy, I caught him." They asked me if I have a card identifying me as a journalist, and I said no, I am the owner. They said OK, here's your paperwork. Be sure to get your tags updated. And, have a nice day.

Thanks for the warning. As far as I could tell, these guys didn't do anything wrong. The one who was in the wrong was me (expired tags). They let me go with a warning, so thanks. Now I'll get the tags done next week, and that will be that.

This little exercise helped to confirm a couple of things. I didn't know how good the dash-cam video would be in this sort of a situation, and it's great - perfect for a bribery situation. I have it tucked up under the rear view mirror, so I sort of doubt that they saw it, although that's possible. And when I get pulled over and they want to give me a ticket for (whatever), I always just say "OK, write the ticket". I never try to squirm, bullshit my way out of it, indicate I might be willing to pay a bribe, or whatever. I let them do that, if they're going to.

Anyway, here's the dash-cam video of this little exchange, for what it's worth. I suspect they might have let me go because I played the "Wild Bill" card, but who knows. Make sure to keep the license plates on your car up to date or you might get pulled over. Have a great day.

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Government Minister Fabrega Says Government Will Honor Commitments With Bus Drivers

Cars & TransportationGovernment Minister, Ricardo Fabrega said today the bus drivers who are members of the National Transportation Board can feel confident they government will comply with the agreements reached with the former Minister of the Presidency Demetrio Papadimitriu, who resigned. Minister Fabrega, who was Director of the Land Transit and Transportation Authority, emphasized that the compensation will go ahead as soon as possible to complete the modernization of the public transport system. "The pact was made with the Government, and not with any one individual on a personal basis," he said. Esteban Rodriguez, leader of the CANATRA, had said the sector was in uncertainty because they were unaware if the government would comply with the compensation, and the management of the funds promised by Papadimitriu to pay for exonerated diesel fuel. (TVN)
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

2011 Toyota Prius Gas/Electric Hybrid Car For Sale (Owner is Moving)

Cars & TransportationFor Sale By Owner - Toyota Prius 2011. Gas/Electric Hybrid. Only 5500 km – like new. Purchased less than 1 year ago. You can drive to David and back on 1 tank of gas! The owner is moving and has to sell this car. $23,500 Call 6675-4210.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

The Northern Corridor Will Pass To The State in September 2012

Cars & TransportationThe process to purchase the Northern and Southern Corridors by the Panamanian government seems to be coming to an end, after a process of more than one year. Thousands of Panamanians who use both roads hope they will be turned into escape valves from the metropolitan traffic facing great challenges, sustained in a vehicular reorganization plan and the construction of the new subway Metro Line 1. The acquisition of the two highways has a cost of approximately $700 million dollars, and the process is in its final stage.

The Southern Corridor was acquired by the National Highway Company SA (ENA), for a price of $420 million in August last year, without affecting the state's sovereign debt because the cost will be paid from tolls charged to users. Given the strong financial performance of the Southern Corridor, the debt could be canceled by 2020 and the Panamanians will be able to use the road for free.

ENA is now preparing to buy the Northern Corridor next September for the amount of $650 million dollars and over a period of 12 years it will be passed unencumbered to the State. The purchase of this highway will not affect sovereign debt, because it is not part of the budget of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. In the case of the Northern Corridor, the situation of debt and free use of it could vary depending on the coupon bond.

Rigoberto Effio, general manager of the National Company of Motorways, SA, said the buying process to buy both the Northern and Southern corridors is ongoing, and for that reason they are in compliance with the purchasing structure approved by the Cabinet Council, under Resolution #33 of 3 April 2012. According to Effio, this is a process that requires signing a series of contracts, including the views of guarantees required by banks structured by local and international lawyers to conclude the purchase of the Northern Corridor, in a manner that's safe for the Panamanian government.

He said the revenue generated by the corridors during the next 10 to 12 years, will be used exclusively to pay the debt for the purchase of both highways, and to comply with the commitments of operations and maintenance.

The corridors will be managed by two concessionaires: ENA Sur SA and ENA Norte SA, respectively. Responsibility for both concessions will be for the operation and maintenance contracts and other commitments to ensure smooth operation, he added. The company is responsible for instructing the trust to comply with the obligations generated by both corridors, according to a budget approved and regulated by the issuing trust. (Panama America)

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

New Highway Will Be Toll Free For Thirty Days

Cars & TransportationThe president Ricardo Martinelli announced that the first thirty days of using the second phase of the Alberto Motta Cardoze highway will be free. The sector that will be free of charge will stretch from Nueva Italia to the Cuatro Altos, said the president at the opening of the expressway. Later, Martinelli moved to the expansion of the Enrique A. Jiménez International Airport in Colon, where he said the gangs who are stealing the lights from the airport are doing a harm to society. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: OK, the new part of the highway will be free for thirty days so people can check it out. And, people are stealing the lights from the airport? Wow, that says a whole lot about their security, eh? These are not gangs, but crack heads who will steal anything they can sell for five bucks to get their next rock to smoke.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Martinelli Asks Business Owners To Vary Work Hours To Lessen Traffic Jams

Cars & TransportationPresident Ricardo Martinelli today asked business owners to change their work schedules to reduce the traffic jams in the capital. The president said that private enterprise and the government must adopt contingency plans so that in 2013 when the projects are expanded, there are less problems. Martinelli recommended tolerance because the projects are going to be getting larger, and there will be more traffic jams. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: Yup, that's right. It's going to get worse. I'm going to start working at night. But hopefully once it's all done, many of the problems will be fixed. With just the Metro subway system there will be about 500,000 people per day underground using the trains, and not on the surface using cars, buses, or taxis. The real solution is to move the jobs out of Panama City.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Fuel Prices in Panama Drop Again Today, Saturday

Cars & Transportation By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Once again the government of Panama has adjusted fuel prices downward in response to decreasing costs worldwide. The new prices will be implemented as of today, Saturday, 30 June 2012.

  • 95 octane gas will now cost $4.05 per gallon, a decrease of 17 cents per gallon.
  • 91 octane gas will not cost $3.63 per gallon, a decrease of 13 cents per gallon.
  • Diesel will cost $3.40 per gallon, a decrease of 14 cents per gallon.

These new prices will be in effect for the next two weeks, until 13 July 2012. Panama adjusts the rates (the maximum any gas station can legally charge) every two weeks, based on fluctuations in international markets. As a result, the prices for fuel in Panama generally mirror those in the United States, with a bit of a lag in both increases and decreases.

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Bus Drivers File Legal Complaint Against ATTT Director

Cars & TransportationBus owners from the Western part of the province of Panama went with their legal representative, Silvio Guerra, to the office of the Attorney General to submit a complaint against the Director of the Land Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT), Juan Pablo Mora, for the alleged offenses of abuse of authority and violation of the public servant and alleged failure of functions. Silvio Guerra, who is the legal representative of the carriers, said both the Director and the Chief of Operations of the ATTT are promoting "piracy" in the transportation service because they granted temporary permits for 30 days to people so they can operate. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: There have been all kinds of fraud and "irregularities" in the paying of the $25,000 dollar checks to people who supposedly owned the old "Red Devil" buses. These compensation checks are being paid in order to get these private individuals out of the public transportation business, so the implementation of the Metro Bus system can proceed smoothly. However now that the government is starting to investigate these cases and allegations of fraud, the bus drivers are taking actions like this to turn up the heat from their side, or at least try to. In one case in Colon someone signed off on the importation of about 90 new buses after a moratorium had been implemented. They are trying to steal as much money as they can.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

ATTT Orders Traffic Safety de Panama To Turn Off Speed Trap Camera in Costa del Este

Cars & TransportationThe only operational speed trap camera installed by the company Traffic Safety de Panama had to be turned off. Yesterday, in a brief statement, the Land Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT) reported they ordered the company to suspend the functions of the speed control camera, active since last June 6 in the area of ​​Costa del Este. Without explanation, the ATTT disabled the device which had guaranteed an attractive business for the company Traffic Safety de Panama.

In only 18 days of operation the system issued more than 2,000 speeding tickets at a rate of $50 each. This represented more than $65,000 dollars for the company.

The government structured for this company a monopoly on the collection of fines for the infractions detected by these speed surveillance cameras. And, incidentally, they wrote a contract that leaves open the possibility to diversify their earnings with few limits.

According to the contract signed by Jorge Ricardo Fabrega, who at the time was the Director of the Land Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT), and Ricardo Chanis Correa, a partner and friend of the Martinelli family, Traffic Safety keeps 65% of the fines for speeding and for any other offense detected and collected through the system on concession.

They could also have an active participation in the managing of the collection of fines, and to sell statistical information collected through the use of their systems to third parties, provided the information is not classified as restricted, although the contract does not specify what data would be considered confidential.

"If you do not want to give business to the company, drive well," said the current Secretary of the ATTT, Nicholas Brea, when questioned by Telemetro Reports in the morning about the business. Later, the ATTT took a step back and rescinded the only speed trap camera operated by Traffic Safety.

In the contract signed by Chanis the government demanded an investment of only $3 million dollars, and in return the company was guaranteed to earn 65% of each fine generated by the system. The State will receive 35% of the value of the infringements. (Prensa)

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Fabrega Says Radar Cameras Are "Not A Great Business" - Company Gets 65% Of Fines

Cars & TransportationJorge Ricardo Fabrega, director of the Land Transit and Transportation Authority, rejected the criticisms that have been made to the high percentage (65%) the company Safety Security de Panamá S.A. will received of each fine imposed by the new automatic camera system. This is the company contracted by the government that is responsible for the installation, operation, and maintenance of the speed trap cameras being installed in the capital city. "Those who are imagining that this is the great business are totally wrong," he said in an interview with RPC Radio, stating to the extent drivers are aware they are being watched and that they will be punished, the violations (frequency of fines) will decrease and the company eventually will have a lower income. About the popular clamor for there to be some kind of tolerance, Fabrega said "the law does not speak of tolerance ... if the maximum speed is 60 kph then it's 60, not 62, or 63. There is no range of tolerance in the traffic laws." He highlighted the success of this system in other countries, and reiterated that the objective of installing these cameras is to reduce accidents, violations and eliminate bribery. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: This is what the camera and radar gun set up looks like. It will clock you from behind.

Once you've passed by it, if you're doing more than the posted limit for that area, it takes your photo and the system issues the ticket. More than 2,500 have already been issued just by one single camera system installed as a test or proof of concept in the area of Costa del Este. The government of Panama has already contracted for the first 20 cameras which are being installed and made operational right now.

This is what the warning sign will look like. It says "Fine By Camera" and shows the posted speed limit for that area. If you see this sign, slow down to below the speed limit, because as you see in this article, the law makes no tolerance for being even a half a click over the speed limit. These machines are automatic and if you're over, your over - here's your ticket - robot style. Harder to bribe, too.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks