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Saturday, April 19 2014 @ 01:16 PM EDT

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Two Lanes Of Via España Closed For Subway Work

Cars & TransportationAs part of the work to relocate utilities to make way for the construction of the new underground subway station at the El Carmen church in Panama City, a partial closure of Via España will be in effect starting today, Saturday, 7 January 2012, until Monday, 9 January 2012, at 6:00 pm. The work consists of placing underground pipes and tubes that will be used to re-position telecommunications and electrical lines, and the installation of a 20-inch water main pipe that will pass in front of the parking lot for the Felix B. Maduro store to relocate the existing line. It was also announced there will be interruptions to the supply of drinking water to some customers in the area. In order to accomplish these tasks the Transit Authority and Land Transport (ATTT) gave permission to close two lanes of Via España from the McDonald's restaurant (at the corner of Via Veneto) to the parking lots of the old building Caja de Ahhoros, including the access to Manuel Espinosa Batista avenue.

Once the work is completed the first two lanes of Via España will be reopened to the public, but then the two lanes from the Banco Delta to the Felix B. Maduro store will be closed in order to continue with the re-positioning of the underground public utilities. During this process Via España will remain partially open with just two lanes for use by vehicles. The work to re-position public utilities began on 26 September 2011 and consisted of the removal of overhead wires, and pipes that were running down the middle of the road underground, in order to position both on the sides of the roadway in public easement areas. After the work is completed, the way will have been cleared for the construction of the station that will contribute to converting the capital city into a friendlier place, with new public and urban spaces for the benefit of all. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: Please - if you don't absolutely have to use Via España - then don't. The roadway is getting more and more squeezed with each passing day and the traffic is backing up more and more. Go around. Use Calle 50 to go from the old part of the city out towards San Francisco, and Via Transistmica to go in the other direction. Navigate your way through the side streets in Obarrio and El Cangrejo. But if you can, stay away from Via España whenever possible.

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Traffic To Get Even Worse in January As Construction Starts on New Roadway Projects

Cars & TransportationStarting in the month of January 2012 drivers in Panama City will start feeling even more affects on traffic, due to the start of several new construction projects. Jorge Ricardo Fabrega, the Director of the Transit Authority, explained some of the projects and the challenges for drivers. The first point will be the Bridge of the Americas that will undergo a some intensive maintenance starting on 3 January 2012. For this reason, Fabrega recommended that drivers should use the Centennial Bridge. There will be two years of work on this structure dating from the 60's. Fabrega said there will be two more years of discomfort for drivers caused by the work being done by the government to build the "road realignment" and the construction of the new Metro Line 1 Subway System of Panama. Soon the construction of new bridges and overpasses will begin located at Albrook, Ave. Nacional and Ave. de los Martires, as part of the road realignment project, said Fabrega. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: Here's the official promotional video from the Secretary of the Metro, which describes the new subway system being built in Panama City. At this point all you can really do is plan ahead and leave yourself more time to get to your destinations. Traffic is already bad now thanks to the construction on the Metro, and it's only going to get worse.

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Women With Small Children Slept At The Albrook Bus Terminal For Lack Of Transportation

Cars & TransportationThey slept in the bus terminal. More than fifty people had to sleep in the Albrook bus terminal because there were no buses to take them to their destinations. Some of the people who were trying to get to Colon, Veracuz, Arraiján and other points West and in the interior of the country spent hours waiting for the buses to arrive. Finally at two o'clock in the morning mothers slept with their children on the seats in the terminal. While in the area of the parade, the reality was the many people who had to wait for more than five hours for transportation. (Dia a Dia)

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Illegally Parked And Improperly Licensed Vehicles Will Be Towed

Cars & TransportationThe Director of the Transit Police, Teofilo Moreno, said they will start towing cars parked in prohibited areas. Moreno said the intent of this operation - which begins today - is to recover the spaces that have not been authorized for parking, such as sidewalks, traffic islands, and the edges of some streets. He added that during this operation they will take out of circulation those cars that do not have current and valid license plates. The operation includes the avenues and sectors of Ricardo J. Alfaro, Manuel Espinosa Bastista, Costa del Este, San Francisco and Punta Pacífica. Moreno said during these days they will be vigilant to ensure that drivers comply with traffic regulations and speed control in order to avoid unfortunate accidents. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: What I don't understand is why don't they do this all the time? Why do they feel the need to make a public announcement that basically says "we're going to start enforcing the law now, so be warned." If you park a car illegally in New York City you can barely count to ten before a municipally owned tow truck comes along to scoop it up. And in order to get your car back you have to pay for the parking ticket, the tow fees, and storage. Once it becomes very expensive for people to park their cars illegally, then they will stop doing it. And what's more, they should sub-contract this out so that whoever is doing the towing is monetarily motivated by getting paid for each tow. Obviously there would be a need for photographic evidence, two person integrity, etc.

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ATTT Will Cancel 9,000 Taxi Permits

Cars & TransportationMore than 14,000 certificates of public transport operation (taxi permits) which were not picked up by their owners will be cancelled by the Land Transit and Transportation Authority according to the Director of this entity Jorge Ricardo Fabrega. According to Fabrega, in the coming days his legal team will draft a resolution to cancel the operating permits, after reviewing their records to determine which of these were not picked up from the ATTT due to problems with outstanding loans or payments or for any other reason. Among the permits that will be cancelled are 9,000 permits for "selective transport" (taxi permits) in the country. Of these 7,000 are for taxis in the province of Panama (Panama City and surrounding areas), and the remainder are distributed in other provinces, Fabrega said.

After the designated period of time to pick up license plates for taxis which ended last 30 September 2011, the ATTT granted a special permission for taxis and buses to allow them to continue to operate on domestic routes so they could pick up their license plates during the month of October, due to a delay in the (manufacture and) issuance of the plates. Meanwhile, the rest of the people who are late, the ATTT gave them an additional period of time to apply for their permits, however they cannot continue to provide service without a current license plate. As of today more than 35,000 carriers have current license plates, he said.

Two Thousand School Buses Without Valid Plates - Among the operating certificates the ATTT will cancel are more than 2,000 permits for small vans and buses used to transport school children. According to Fabrega, the number of school buses seems strange, because in his experience as the Director of the ATTT these are the types of carriers who most fulfill their obligations. This indicates that, according to Fabrega, these are people who are no longer in business.

No More Extensions: After the legal team analyzes the number of license plates that were not picked up, they will be cancelled. For this process, he said, there will be no extension and those who wish will have the option of reassigning their quotas. El Siglo attempted to obtain the opinion of some leading carriers, but the efforts were unsuccessful. (El Siglo)

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Panama Government Will Install RFID Chips On Every Private Vehicle

Cars & TransportationStarting next year everyone will have a chip stuck on the glass front of their cars that will contain all of the information of the vehicle owner, that can also be used to expedite traffic jams on the highways. This is a new tool that will be added to those already being used by the National Police to try to control car thefts and other crimes. They are analyzing the possibility that the chip might be used to pay tolls with having to wait in long and tedious traffic jams. The first time people receive the chip it will be free, but it must be replaced every five years and then users will have to pay the stipulated, as yet unknown. The Mexican company Accessos Holograficos SA has already won the bid for the government contract, and they will offer the service of delivery and implementation of this electronic solution for every privately owned vehicle. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: Interesting. My father refuses to get one of those RFID based toll paying things for his car in the United States, on principles of personal freedom. He simply doesn't want some government schmuck to have the ability to scan his car (at will) to record this movements. Now, of course he's not doing anything wrong or breaking the law, but it's the principle of the thing. These RFID based systems can be "pinged" at any time. If there was one in every car, then the government can scan all traffic and vehicles as they pass by any point, and then capture and store that data for later use. There's literally no limit to the number of times they can scan your car and capture the data. Add that together with a surveillance camera and presto - they can prove that you and your car were in point "A" at a particular time and place. And what if something happened eight weeks ago? No problem - they just search for your information in their database, and pull up your movements. Now that your car has been taken care of, where would you like the RFID chip implanted on your body? Because that's next, you know. Instead of "let me see your papers" it will be "let me scan your ass." Hey, it's for your own good. Resistance is futile. Just roll over and spread 'em. You'll enjoy this. Trust me... (the last words you hear before you get royally fucked.) Whoops. Something happened to mine. It's not working. Can't imagine why. Oh well...

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Vacationers Returning to Panama City From Interior Cause Traffic Jams

Cars & TransportationBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Today the long weekend ends for everyone and thousands of people are turning to Panama City from the interior of the country. There are multiple reports of slow moving traffic and traffic jams on the Inter American highway, so expect delays as the crowd and traffic slowly filter through the two bridges to repopulate Panama City.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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New "Buses Only" Lane on Coastal Strip

Cars & TransportationStarting next Tuesday the buses of the Metrobus system using the coastal strip will have a dedicated bus lane. The buses that use the Southern Corridor from Las Mañanitas, Don Bosco, Pedregal, 24 de Diciembre, Felipillo and Pacora use this route. Yesterday, staff of the Directorate of Traffic and Road Safety, from the Land Traffic and Transportation Transport (ATTT), made the delimitation on the roadway (painted the road) which now will only be used by the Metrobus vehicles. The measure - which will also be applied starting in January on the Southern Corridor, and as of now on the Coastal Strip - seeks to speed up traffic, especially in the month of December when vehicular traffic will increase. Jorge Ricardo Fabrega, director of the ATTT, explained that this decision was made in conjunction with the Ministry of Public Works (MOP). According to the official, the busway is part of the change in the transport system, which requires that the buses transit in one single lane. (Siglo)

Editor's Comment: So, heads up. Starting on Tuesday next week there will be a new "buses only" land on the Coastal Strip. And as with anything new, there's always a degree of confusion at first. Just pay attention, take it easy when going through this area, and be alert for eager traffic cops looking to hang tickets on those who are using the "buses only" lane illegally.

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Slick Idea For Cheaper Taxis From Tocumen to Panama City

Cars & Transportation #Panama - By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The following was posted as a comment to the recent article about how the regular yellow taxis are not being allowed to pick up passengers at the Tocumen International Airport: "As soon as I clear customs I walk to the left go to the elevator and up one floor to the departure level and then out the door to find a taxi dropping someone off; I quickly go to the taxi and offer $20 no tolls, and off I go. I never pay the $25 to $35 downstairs. Greed works both ways and the departure level taxi would love my $20 and return to the city quickly." I gotta tell ya' - I've never thought of that. Sure, why not? If the cab drivers were smart they would post someone downstairs with a sign pointing up, saying "cheaper taxis upstairs." That'll fix 'em... Anyway, you get this week's "Gringo Juega Vivo" award.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Regular Yellow Taxis Not Allowed To Enter Tocumen International Airport

Cars & Transportation#Panama - Taxi drivers complain that the authorities of the Tocumen International Airport are not letting them into the place to pick up any passengers, or even to let them park. The cab drivers protested on Friday saying they disagreed with the measure, saying "this didn't even happen during the years of the dictatorship." On Monday, 31 October 2011, there will be a meeting attended by representatives from the tourism administration, the administrators of the airport area, and the taxi drivers. What happens is that people who are arriving at the airport cannot be picked up by family members who arrive in a taxi or who are taxi owners, and therefore everyone is practically being forced to use the tourist taxis, in agreement with the airport terminal. There have been verbal attacks when a taxi driver picks up a person at the airport.

Rafael Reyes, a leader of the taxi drivers, said they are meeting with the union, because there is no reason to prevent them from providing the service. "For the first time in history, when we provide this service to the airport, not even during the time of the dictatorship, we are persecuted and defamed by the administration," he said. The leader also stressed that they also pay taxes; for two license plates - one commercial and one private - they pay for parking, and they also provide services to both foreigners as well as the Panamanians who work at the airport. Reyes denounced there are private vehicles not bearing any kind of license plate indicating they are a taxi, working together with the airport managers, and they even drop off and pick up passengers in the area of the airport terminal. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: It's about the money, honey. Think about it this way. Panama's tourism authorities say they hope more than 2 million tourists will visit Panama this year. The vast majority of those people arrive at the Tocumen International Airport. And, most of them need a ride from the airport to their hotel in the city. An average fare from the airport to the city is about $20 bucks. Let's say that half of the newly arriving tourists hop into a cab - that would be $20 million dollars per year. OK, so maybe it's less, but no matter what it's still a big number. These guys who drive back and forth to the airport every day are making some serious money. In fact everyone involved all up and down the line is getting a cut. And who have been cut out? The regular taxi drivers who are now complaining about it. There will be more on this issue in the future.

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