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Thursday, April 17 2014 @ 11:05 PM EDT

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Woman Threatens Suicide By Jumping Off Of The Bridge of the Americas

Cars & TransportationA 55 year old woman threatened to commit suicide by jumping off of the Bridge of the Americas in protest because her son was arrested by units of the Directorate of Judicial Investigation (DIJ) for an undisclosed case. The incident caused a huge traffic jam on the bridge. The woman got out of a sedan on the bridge with a knife in her hand, saying that if her son was not released she would cut her own throat and also jump off of the bridge. Police officers arrived at the scene, who did everything they could, however the woman got back into her car and drove away. (La Critica)

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New 2011 License Plates Ready for January and February

Cars & TransportationOn Monday January 3, 2011 all municipalities in Panama will have in their respective headquarters the new vehicle license plates for the months of January and February, said Thursday Ricardo Fabrega, the Director of the Ground Transit and Transportation Authority. Fabrega presented the final model of the new plates to the media. It is a simple white tin with a blue line, with the numbers visible. For 2011 there will be no drawings on the plates, which has been the tradition, and they will also have new security measures incorporated. He added that on January 3 they will be signing a resolution for the preparation of the license plates for 2012, in order to avoid delays. (Telemetro)

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Metro Bus Manager Downplays The Resignations Of Some Bus Drivers

Cars & Transportation IvŠn Posada, the chief executive of the company Mass Transit that is responsible for the operation of the new Metro Bus system, downplayed the resignations of some of their bus drivers, saying everyone is free to decide whether or not they want to work for this brand new system in Panama. Posada said some of these people are bus owners now, or they have outstanding bills to pay (traffic tickets), and those are issues over which the bus company has no influence. He said the Metro Bus system is in it for the long haul, at at the same time he made a call to fill 2,800 vacancies. "There's jobs," he said.

Already 180 drivers have been hired who attended training courses at the INADEH. Posada said those who are interested can go to the company headquarters in the Los Pueblos Mall, can telephone 293-5800, access their website, or send an email to quierotrabajar@mibus.pa for information on how to register.

Posada praised the conditions of the Metro Bus while minimizing the inconvenience that occurred in Balboa Avenue when a bus shut down. The bus shut down when a security device kicked in, because a door sensor prevented the bus engine from starting. He confirmed that since the Metro Bus system started operating there have been several minor and unimportant incidents. Currently there are 120 buses operating on routes that use the Southern Corridor. More buses will be arriving on 9 January 2011. (TVN Noticias)

Editor's Comment: The new buses can carry about 80 passengers each - some 30 sitting and about 50 standing. They are designed to be able to handle more passengers during "peak" hours, when one bus can carry as many passengers as two of the old "Red Devil" buses. The government of Panama is smart to do a slow and orderly phase-in of this new system, and to take the old buses off of the streets one at a time. Within a year or so there won't be any of the old buses running around at all, and every bus in town will be these new Metro Bus units. This is a massive upgrade for the Panamanian mass transportation sector - a change that each of the last three presidents has tried to do and failed. Even if there are a few scraped knees and bloody noses along the way, I feel that overall this is a very good thing indeed. And, it's been a long time coming. But you already know what's going to happen, right? Eventually there will be an accident with one of these buses, and people who were standing will get hurt, and Martinelli will he held personally responsible (even if the driver is drunk or something like that.) Some kind of similar incident will occur - the details will vary but the overall scenario will be the same. Mark my words...

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Riders "Like Sardines In A Can" On The New Metro Bus System

Cars & TransportationPanama's new mass transportation system known as the "Metro Bus" started operations yesterday, starting with the routes of the Southern Corridor. The 70 articulated buses became the center of attention for both bus riders and reporters who lined up to buy tickets to ride on the system that promises to do away with the messy "Red Devil" buses, which until recently operated on that route. Those who had doubts saw workers occupying the buses at 4:00 am to start operations. The images showed a Metro bus full of people, to be exact 35 were seated and there were another 50 standing passengers (the maximum capacity of the bus). 'Like sardines in a can, we are traveling on this bus that is supposed to be comfortable, safe and reliable," said Isabel Rodriguez. Those who used the routes of Pedregal and Don Bosco were upset because they had to pay $1.25 to ride standing. Although the operating company Mass Transit Panama took its 70 buses to the streets, demand exceeded supply. IvŠn Posada, the manager of the operating company, said traveling while standing on a Metro Bus is an advantage, without explaining the virtues to which he referred.

NUISANCE AND DAMAGE - More than 100 people who were waiting to board a bus at the entrance of Pedregal had to wait hours to board just one bus. They had to pay as they boarded, and this delayed the process. The Minister of the Presidency, Jimmy Papadimitriu, said the cash payments will continue until next January, when the new e-card system will be implemented. Several adults traveled while standing, although there are seats that are supposed to be exclusively for them that were occupied by young people. Authorities said the users should reclaim the seats. At 8:15 am, one bus broke down when making its first trip. Papadimitriu, in defending the system, said it is still too early to launch criticisms. (El Siglo)

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130 New Metro Bus Units Start Rolling Today

Cars & Transportation Just a few hours after the first of the new Metro Buses started rolling through the streets of Panama, one of the new buses broke down in front of the Children's Hospital on Ave. Balboa. The apparent mechanical problem caused the bus to stop and remain stopped in front of the hospital, with the passengers waiting for it to continue on its way. Overcoming the problem, whose cause was not specified, the Metro Bus carried on.

Some 120 to 130 buses of the new Metro Bus system started to roll today on four routes using the Southern Corridor. The buses of the Metro Bus system were manufactured by Volvo of Switzerland and the upper part of the bus by the Colombian company Marco Polo. The company responsible for the Metro Bus system said the buses will be able to withstand the streets of Panama, full of drops and holes. (TVN Noticias)

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Access To The Centennial Bridge Will Be Redesigned

Cars & TransportationPanama's Minister of Public Works, Federico Suarez, said he has managed to stabilize the access to the Centennial Bridge that gave way during the recent torrential rains which caused the collapse of one of major slabs of the road. Suarez said this work being done ensure the stability of the roadway is maintained during the more extensive work that will be done later. He said that soon they would be announcing the details of the redesign of the structure of the roadway that leads to the bridge, a major construction project expected to begin in January 2011.

Suarez said the company Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC), which is responsible for the maintenance of the roadways leading to the Centennial bridge, had reported that the point where the roadway collapsed warranted a much deeper analysis. He added that inspections and audits are being conducted to determine what materials were used in the original construction of the project, and to determine if procedures were correctly performed. "We are performing an independent diagnosis of the views that have been offered by several professionals," Suarez said while at the same time he guaranteed that those who are responsible must cope with their responsibilities.

Roadway Washed Out - Access To The Centennial Bridge

An Operation To Control Vehicular Traffic and Flow - Realizing that they have to keep traffic running (even in peak hours), Suarez said during weekdays they will conduct an "operation" from 5:00 am to 9:00 am allowing traffic to flow from the West toward the center of Panama City. From 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm, traffic will flow in the opposite direction - leaving Panama City and heading into the interior of the country towards La Chorrera. For this weekend, starting from tomorrow (Friday, 24 December) flow of traffic will be opened starting at 12:00 noon to allow traffic to leave the center of Panama City towards the West. For Saturday, December 25 the road will remain completely closed during the day to take advantage of Christmas and to get some work done. The bridge will reopen again at 12:00 noon on Sunday 26 December with traffic flowing back towards Panama City from the interior.

The Bridge of the Americas - Suarez said they are monitoring the crack that has opened up which has worried many drivers in the Western part from the center of the city. However he acknowledged that the Bridge of the Americas is a critical point for the flow of traffic, and any work to be done would have serious consequences for the flow of traffic. (Panama America)

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Crossed Up Traffic Signals - Driving in Panama City

Cars & TransportationBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - As I was driving through the neighborhood of Carrasquilla this morning, I ran into a "typical" situation - two conflicting traffic signals. At an intersection to turn left, one of the traffic signals displayed a red arrow, and the other a green arrow. All of the other vehicles were going through, and there was no apparent "common sense" reason to stop, so I just went through like everyone else. This is the kind of thing that happens frequently in Panama City, Panama. I'm still playing with my "Security Dash Cam" from PanaGuard.com and I used that camera to make this video. I just know that sooner or later this camera will capture something much more interesting than a couple of screwed up traffic signals - it's only a matter of time.

Copyright 2010 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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Implementation Of New Law On Minor Traffic Accidents Delayed

Cars & TransportationExecutive Decree Number 958 of 10 December 2010 which covers traffic accidents, due to come into effect on 15 December 2010, was suspended until 1 February 2011 to train drivers, insurance companies, and those who are involved in the issue. The delay was announced by Teofilo Moreno, the Deputy Commissioner of the Traffic Police, who explained that the implementation of the measure was postponed in order to teach drivers to make them aware of the measure. According to Moreno, between 60% and 80% of traffic accidents in Panama are minor, and they cause traffic jams, and therefore this new measure was created.

The decree, which regulates Law 21 of May 28, 2010 and which dictates new measures for minor traffic accidents on public roads, was changed. Among these changes are that in any vehicle involved in a vehicle collision, the driver should not only have a camera to gather evidence of the accident, and they should have a form and to fill it out and then wait for the officer of the Land Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT). At first, it was being said that drivers involved in minor traffic accidents should move their cars out of the roadway in order to avoid being fined $50, but now must collect evidence, complete the form, and wait for the traffic authorities in a place where they do not block traffic. Also, if drivers do not have a valid and current insurance policy they will be fined $100, and on the other hand if they have insurance but they don't have a copy of the policy in the car they will be fined $50 and the car will be impounded.

Insurance Companies Call for Clarity - The Vice President of MAPFRE Mundial Panama, Dino Mon, said they agreed with the decree, but this lacks regulation and it should be clarified before being implemented. He referred to a need to explain exactly what is a minor traffic accident, and who is going to define the term, while the drivers are waiting for the agent. In his view, the new law also fails to address those accidents caused by drunk drivers. (El Siglo)

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Roadway Leading to Centennial Bridge Collapses, Closed

Cars & Transportation Panama's Minister of Public Works Federico Suarez, reported today he has ordered the closure of the road of one lane of the road leading to the Centennial Bridge to the West of the Panama Canal, due to the deterioration and collapse of part of the roadway due to the heavy rains that have fallen in recent days. Suarez said they would coordinate with the Traffic Police and the Ground Transit and Transportation Authority about the lane closure. (La Prensa)

Editor's Comment: There have been problems with this stretch of road starting when it was built. It seems like part of the roadway "collapses" every year. The simple fact of the matter is that whoever built this part of the roadway didn't do an adequate job of studying the underlying soils, nor did they install sufficient drainage to allow for the heavy rains that fall every year at this time. The water gets under the roadway, washes out the soil, and the roadway "collapses." It's been patched and repaired at least five times, and now here we go again.

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The Color Yellow Will Be Reserved For Taxis Only in Panama - Starting in Jan 2011

Cars & TransportationAlthough six months ago the Board of Directors of the Ground Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT) approved a measure dictating that only taxis can be painted the color yellow, they did not establish a legal deadline for privately owned vehicles that are not taxis to be painted a different color. The director of the ATTT, Jorge Ricardo Fabrega, said this issue is being reviewed by the board members, because there are outstanding issues, and they have to establish sanctions to those who would violate the rule. According to Fabrega, the resolution may be adopted in January 2011. Meanwhile, the president of the National Taxi Union, Rafael Reyes, said the resolution could be satisfied when the ATTT delivers the license plates to taxi drivers, and when permissions and permits are updated. The adopted bill also mandates that automobile distributors may not offer yellow cars for sale. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: Got a yellow car that's not a taxi? Then it appears like you will have to run out and have it painted some other color.

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