Site Meter
Send Us An Email
Panama Guide

Welcome to Panama Guide
Tuesday, June 25 2019 @ 05:32 AM UTC

View Printable Version

ATTT Has Issued More Than 2,000 Speeding Tickets With New Automatic Camera System

Cars & TransportationThe Land Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT) reported today at a press conference at least 2,000 drivers have been fined for speeding, using a new camera system that was installed on 6 June 2012 at the entrance to the Costa del Este. In this areas offenders have been ticketed for driving at speeds of 80 to 100 kilometers per hour, when the speed limit in the area is 60 kilometers per hour. The ATTT said there is a sign in the area indicating the posted speed limit, but drivers ignore it. The General Secretary of the ATTT, Nicholas Brea, said so far they have only installed the camera system on this roadway at the entrance to the Costa del Este, but he said they have purchased 20 sets of equipment that will be installed throughout the city. This new system captures speeding vehicles or those who illegally pass through red lights, and automatically performs the process of issuing the fine electronically which is then sent via e-mail, cell phone, or text message. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: Someone sent me the following yesterday via email: "Hey Don, I received this email yesterday, maybe it helps. Attached places where cameras are installed. They are working and are located with these traffic lights:

    1. Two in Patacón, two on each side of the road in front of the institute of physical medicine (CRIT OF TELETON).

    2. Two in the path of the corridor north Brisas del Golf, both facing each other on the side of the SMART ACADEMY

    3. One in the exit of the south corridor in Llano Bonito, in front of Importaciones Universales.

    4. One in the entry of the south corridor in Llano Bontio, before INGELMEC

    5. One in front of Lumicentro in the Mall 24/7 after the Americas

    6. One about 500 meters from the base of the metro bus from Dec. 24, toward to Pacora

    7. One in front of Carolina Mall, in front of Rodelag

    8. One where starts the marine section, south corridor in direction to the city

    9. One in front of INADEH toward to the airport.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Automatic Radar-Camera Speeding Ticket System Now Installed in Panama City

Cars & TransportationBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Received today via email: "Hi don, I wondered what you knew of the traffic cameras installed – I know there is at least one in costa del este – one of my friends were told they should check the online traffic website and interestingly enough they had a speeding ticket and when they went to pay it they were given the picture of their car and the speed – 63km in a 60 km zone - and the ticket was made out to the person not the car – so it goes against their license even though they were not really driving at the time. Are there lots of these around panama city now – or is this an isolated one. Regards, tom"

Editor's Comment: Yup, true story. The government of Panama started by installing these automatic camera traffic control systems in a few areas as a test. Now they have reportedly completed the testing, and recently the National Police announced they would be expanding the program, installing more cameras, and covering more area. Anywhere the cameras are installed there is a sign under the speed limit sign saying (in Spanish) that the area is being monitored by automatic cameras, and if you speed then you will be ticketed. And if the speed limit is 60 kph and you're doing 63 kph, then you're speeding. There's no notification system, and you'll find out about the ticket when you go to update your license plates. You can't deny or refute the ticket, because there's a photo of your car, at the place and time of the citation, being clocked over the speed limit (regardless of who's driving.) Anyway, the short answer is that yes, this is being done, and the program is being expanded.

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

No more cash at toll gates?

Cars & TransportationHi Don: Read the Guide every day. No cash booths at Toll Gates on expressways? How will tourists and Expats get through the toll gates without a card? Will we have to go into the city somewhere to buy a card to use once or twice a year? I wonder if they have thought this through? It would really be a bad thing for tourists. Thanks for any info you may have. Cliff

Editor's Comment: Yeah, that's what I'm hearing as well. And you're right, they're going to have to keep at least one lane open for those who want to pay cash, eventually. But right now they are trying to say it's going to be 100% electronic swipe cards, mandatory. As usual, they tend to just shoot from the hip and then adjust fire when they miss. It hasn't been done yet, so we can relax for now.

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

Gas Prices Will Drop At The Pump on Saturday

Cars & TransportationThe new fuel prices that will take effect starting this weekend will continue to reflect a downward trend, said Wednesday, the Energy Secretary, Juan Urriola. The official explained the new prices at the pump. He said the 95-octane gasoline will drop 14 cents to settle at $4.22 per gallon, while a gallon of 91 octane will reduce the price 5 cents to settle at $3.76 per gallon. The same applies to diesel with low sulfur content, which will drop by 8 cents per gallon to a new price of $3.54. The new prices will take effect on Saturday 16 June 2012 and will run until 30 June 2012. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: Gas prices at the pump in Panama track pretty closely with the international cost of a barrel of petroleum on the open market. As production costs go up, they are passed along to consumers. As they go back down, prices go back down. There's a lag in the response time, but it's always there, and it's also something over which the government of Panama has practically no control. Higher fuel prices is what has been driving most of the inflation trends in Panama at a macro level.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

More Than 55,000 Vehicles Have Expired License Plates in Panama City

Cars & TransportationFrom January through April this year, 55,262 license plates have not been picked up by taxpayers, as revealed in a report by the Municipal Treasurer of the Municipality of Panama. Guillermo Dominguez, the Director of the Tax Administration, said the delays in the removal of plates is causing losses to the institution, and that the most frequent excuses given are traffic accidents, followed by mechanical breakdown. The Mayor has requested the preparation of a total of 202,989 license plates, from January to July. The report notes that in January they had available 29,489 license plates, of which 24,607 were withdrawn by the taxpayers.

In February there were 29,619 registered enrollments, and of those 23,727 went into the hands of taxpayers. While in March and April a total of 59,000 cars were registered. Meanwhile, during the month of May 23 out of every 100 people had not fulfilled their obligation to pay their road tax. For the month of June the Municipality ordered the production of 29,201 license plates, and figures for July amounted to 28,049, which are about to be delivered to the various municipal offices. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: Great money making opportunity here. If there are more than 55,000 vehicles driving around Panama City with expired license plates then the National Police should start issuing tickets (and not asking for bribes to let people go). I think the ticket for an expired plate is like $50 bucks, so this could raise $2.75 million dollars in fines.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Aeroperlas Given 90 More Days To Decide Their Future

Cars & Transportation It's been 99 days since 29 February 2012, when the airline Aeroperlas, a subsidiary of Avianca Taca, suddenly announced the cessation of its operations in the country, and after this period the company continued on a temporary suspension of its operating certificate, after it was granted a further extension for 90 days.

Claudia Arenas, the International Director of Corporate Affairs and Communications for the Avianca Taca Group, said the evaluation process scheduled for a definite definition on the subject of the Aeroperlas airline has taken longer than expected, and for this reason, the company proceeded to ask the authorities for an additional period of 90 days (three months), which was authorized on May 31 this year.

Rafael Barcenas, the Director of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), said in the case of Aeroperlas, "we will not rush the situation to move it to another level, because our hope is that in the future, this company can again begin to work with any type of operation, because it suits the country and the consumer that there are two companies providing domestic flight service."

When referring to the end of the 90-day extension requested by the airline, he said the airline company can request additional extensions in order to maintain Aeroperlas alive as a company, and once they desist from making such requests, then the company itself stops functioning.

He explained ticket prices for domestic airfare in Panama is regulated, which is why if Aeroperlas is out of the game, then Air Panama cannot remain with a guaranteed monopoly, which will prevent a rise in prices, because the State has established a price cap for such flights which has not changed. He added the Air Panama airline absorbed the entire Aeroperlas customer base and that it has the capacity to cover the routes and destinations that were being provided by the other company. Barcenas said at present there are no proposals from other companies to provide the service Aeroperlas vacated.

Eduardo Stagg, CEO of Air Panama, said they increased their flights to destinations such as Bocas del Toro, David and Contadora, following the cessation of operations of Aeroperlas. "The number of flights depends on the season and type of aircraft; for example, to Bocas del Toro, before we flew two flights a day in an aircraft with 34 seats, which we replaced with three flights a day in an aircraft with 50 seats," said Stagg. He said to David, in the province of Chiriqui, they increased from three flights per day to four or five, depending on demand. On the increase of passengers, he said compared to the same period last year they've seen an increase of 25% to 30%, and he said they have also hired more people and increased their fleet of aircraft.

Passenger Movement Data - The Aeroperlas airline transported a total of 113,222 passengers during 2011, while in 2010 the company transported a total of 110,000 passengers, representing an increase of 2.2% over the previous year. They also canceled the flights to Pedasi, in the province of Los Santos. (Panama America)

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Requests To Make The Lists Of Compensated Bus Owners Public

Cars & TransportationFaced with complaints of alleged irregularities in the process of the payments of compensation for buses from the routes of the North and South Corridors, sectors of civil society are demanding that the Ground Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT) make public the list of carriers that benefited from these payments. In this regard, Aidé Chu de Paredes, who representative the users of public transport, questioned before the Board of the ATTT the refusal of the Directors of the National Transport Chamber (Canatra) to disclose the names those bus owners who had received these payments. According to Chu, the excuse to keep secret the names of the owners secret for safety "is not a valid argument" because everyone in their communities knows who owns the buses. Two months ago, according to Ms. Chu, the four user representatives to the Board of the ATTT requested the report from the Administrative Rescue for Public Transport in the districts of Panama and San Miguelito, however they were denied. "When it comes to public funds, there should not be any impediment to expose the accounts," said the leader.

The president of the Movement of 23 October, David Ramirez, went further and asked the government to stop the clearing process until after the conclusion of an investigation being conducted by the Fourth Anti-Corruption Prosecutor, started last March. Ramirez complained that the process of changing the the public transportation system is being tainted by corruption, while the victims of the public transport system are not being compensated, but the bus owners are.

FREE ACCESS - On Monday, the president of the Canatra, Dionisio Ortega, during a press conference reminded of the Government's agreement not to disclose the names of the bus owners to continue to cooperate in the process of changing the public transport system.

However, the lawyer Ernesto Cedeno said that under the Act 6 of 2002 on Transparency, information on these payments is of unrestricted access, because they are the product of the activities developed by the Government, about which every citizen should know, as auditors of public affairs.

On Tuesday, the director of the ATTT, Juan Pablo Mora, presented the list of bus routes from the North Corridor and South Corridor that have already been compensated at the Panama Chapter of Transparency International. The list detailed, according to Mora, that on the Southern Corridor 138 Red Devil owners were compensated, 119 air conditioned buses, and 26 with a capacity for 26 passengers. Meanwhile, on the Northern Corridor another 80 Red Devils left the system, 284 air conditioned buses, and 16 with capacity for 26 passengers, all for a total of $40 million dollars in compensation paid by the government. The director of the ATTT noted there is a commitment not to reveal the names of the carriers, however, if necessary, they will look for mechanisms to provide the required information. (Siglo)

Editor's Comment: The idea that there was some sort of corruption in the payment of these checks is gaining ground. In fact, there has already been one arrest in Colon. As far as the request on the part of the bus owners for secrecy - screw that. Why should it be a secret who got paid, when, where, and how much? It's obvious that the government is buying these guys off with big fat checks to shut them up and to get them out of the way, but once they have the money and their buses are off of the road, they have just lost all of their clout. If the government does not fully disclose these details, and investigate any indications of wrong doing, then it will hurt them politically down the road.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Metro Bus Now Operating On Three New Routes - 170 More "Red Devils" Retired From Service

Cars & TransportationThe residents of Las Mañanitas were happily surprised when they came out to try to find a "Red Devil" to get to work, but instead they found out the new Metro Bus system had started operations there. The government failed to announce the replacement of the "Red Devils" and as a result users were caught off guard, because they had not yet purchased the electronic swipe cards needed to pay the 25 cent bus fare.

This happened because the decision to begin Metro Bus operations in Las Mañanitas was made at 7:00 pm on Thursday, according to the Director of the Ground Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT), Juan Pablo Mora. According to the official, the secrecy in confirming the date for the replacement of the "Red Devils" occurred because there was a considerable amount of records related to the payment of $25,000 as compensation to bus owners.

According to Mora, the crossing routes of Boca La Caja y Villa Rica, on which Metro Bus service also started yesterday, the records for the "Red Devil" buses have been in the ATTT February.

Saying Goodbye To The "Red Devils" - In Las Mañanitas, the Mi Bus company put 102 new Metro Buses into service providing trunk service for Via España and Tumba Muerto. The Minister of the Presidency, Demetrio Papadimitriu, and the director of the ATTT went to the area, where users complained about the lack of bus stops.

The occasion was also used to hold a meeting with the leadership of the National Transport Chamber (Canatra) during which it was agreed the process of replacing the Red Devils with the new Metro Buses cannot be stopped. As expressed by Mora, the Red Devils serving the area of Torrijos Carter will be the next to leave the system, in about three weeks.

Papadimitriu said the Public Ministry has been investigating irregularities in the payment of the $25,000 compensation to bus owners, since January. He said as a result of this investigation two people have been arrested and another 18 are under investigation.

In a huge convoy, and escorted by patrol cars of the ATTT, a total of 170 Red Devils left the bus yard at Las Mañanitas and were delivered to the patio at the former Howard Air Force Base. With sad faces, and with the hope of expediting the payment of their compensation, the drivers delivered their old buses. Santos Vega, president of the bus yard for the Tumba Muerto route, said yesterday 60 compensations were paid to bus owners from this route. He further explained in the course of the week the remainder of the checks would be paid. "I appeal to my colleagues to ask them to take their papers, in order to expedite their payments," said Vega. (Siglo)

Editor's Comment: Improving the public transportation service in Panama will be one of the capstones of the accomplishments of the administration of Ricardo Martinelli. Of course his political adversaries will bitch and complain and try to find toeholds and leverage to work against the CD, but every day thousands of people are now riding on buses that are much safer and more comfortable. It's not perfect, but it sure is better than what they had before. And, no amount of political rhetoric can change that simple fact.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Jimmy Papadimitriu Meets With Bus Drivers Over Fuel Subsidies

Cars & TransportationBus drivers aired their grievances on Friday morning over the issue of fuel subsidies to the Minister of the Presidency, Jimmy Papadimitriu. According to the union leader the meeting was successful in that the government agreed to pay fuel subsidies to the drivers. The meeting took place on Friday morning. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: Jimmy Papadimitriu has been keeping an extremely low profile over the past six months or so.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

You Can Check On Line To See Unpaid Traffic Tickets in Panama

Cars & Transportation By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Anyone with a Panamanian driver's license can go online to check on the status of both current or past traffic tickets and infractions. Just surf to www.licencia.com.pa/historial/ and enter the requested information. This website is owned and operated by the Land Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT) and it contains the official status of your "account" with them. In my case I entered my personal identification (cedula) number in the top section, and then in the bottom section I entered date of birth, date of expiration on my driver's license, then the "control" number which is printed vertically on the right hand edge of your driver's license itself. The information came up instantly, and it was current and correct. You can see any current or old tickets - in my case there were old entries there going back to 2004. It also shows how many points are currently on your license, if any. This is a handy tool you can use to see exactly what is in the system about you and the status of your license.

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