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Friday, April 18 2014 @ 07:29 PM EDT

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First 5 New "Metro Bus" Units Will Be Used Train Drivers

Cars & TransportationIn November the first five new buses that will be used as part of the Metro Bus public transportation system will arrive in Panama, but they will not be put into service immediately, and rather they will be used to train the drivers that will be hired by the concessionaire, said the Minister of the Presidency, Jimmy Papadimitriu. He reiterated the fleet of 120 buses that will begin to provide transportation services along the Southern Corridor will arrive in mid to late December, while the Northern Corridor fleet will arrive in January. Papadimitriu noted that the concessionaire will have insurance for all buses, so that users are shielded from any harm. On 23 October, in commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the tragedy of La Cresta, which left 18 dead and 25 wounded, the Government presented the first bus of the new urban transport system to the public. (Panama America)

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German Company To Make 2011 License Plates

Cars & Transportation The Ground Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT) is analyzing the possibility of acquiring, through a direct contract, the services of a German company called the Tonnjes Group to make vehicle license plates for 2011. Jorge Ricardo Fabrega, the Director of the ATTT, said this moves comes because the Chapala Vocational School was late in realizing the public bidding process for the procurement of the raw materials required for the manufacture of the license plates. The official explained that in February 2010, the ATTT issued the resolution that established the model of the license plate that will be used, and the document was delivered to Chapala to initiate the work of manufacturing the plates. So far, said Fabrega, nothing has been delivered. According to the director of the ATTT, he met twice with executives from Chapala to check on the progress of the work, without receiving specific answers - and the center now faces problems with suppliers.

Faced with this situation, the official said, it was decided to seek another company to ensure delivery of the plates starting on 2 January 2011. The Tonnjes Group is a company that has been operating in Panama since 2006, when it built a manufacturing plant which distributes license plates throughout Latin America. Fabrega said the company has the capacity to make up to 30,000 license plates per day.

Asked about the issue, a representative of the board of Chapala said they preferred not to make a comment. They said that "at the opportune time" they would hold a press conference to make their version of the story public. The 2010 plates also were not made by Chapala because no one participated in the public bidding process. What's more, the ATTT was delayed in issuing the resolution to determine the details of the manufacture of the plates. (La Prensa)

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Panamanian Government Presents New "Metrobus" in La Cresta

Cars & TransportationThis morning at a memorial ceremony to mark the fourth anniversary of the tragic accident that occurred on 13 October 2006, in which 18 Panamanians were burned to death in bus number 8B-06 of the Mano de Piedra - Corredor route, the Panamanian government took the opportunity to present the new articulated bus that will be used in Panama as part of the "Metrobus" public transportation system. The ceremony took place in La Cresta next to the Hossanna church, where the unfortunate incident occurred four years ago. Family, friends and acquaintances painted blue hearts on the road, as a symbolic gesture for all Panamanians remember the victims. (La Estrella)
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School Bus Crash Kills One Child, Injures 12, Near San Carlos

Cars & TransportationBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - I just got a tip from a reader (Tim): "Don, I will forward pictures, note the tire on rear of vehicle ... one child died, 12 or so had to be taken to San Carlos hospital. Tim" That's all I know right now. I'm trying to find out when the accident occurred, and I'm assuming this afternoon. And Tim is right, you can clearly see that the rear tire of the van has practically no tread, and it's wearing all on one side so there's also something wrong with the alignment or adjustments for the rear wheels. These little vans are frequently used as school buses.







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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18 Wheeler Crashes And Blocks Inter American Highway

Cars & TransportationHe took the brunt of it. Juan Carlos Rios, 36, was driving an 18 wheeler yesterday afternoon, and when trying to avoid hitting a car, crashed into the retaining wall that divides the road, near Loma Cova. The driver was headed towards the interior of the country, and the accident ended up blocking all lanes in all directions, causing a massive traffic jam. Rios was taken by ambulance to the hospital, suffering from pains in the back and abdomen. (Dia a Dia)

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Aeroperlas Fined $50,000 For "Faulty Maintenance"

Cars & TransportationThe Panamanian airline Aeroperlas was fined $50,000 by the Civil Aviation Authority for two incidents that occurred over the weekend with their ATR aircraft. According to the CAA report, an Aeroperlas ATR aircraft with tail number HP-004APP made an emergency landing with 46 passengers aboard on 8 October 2010 when the number 2 engine caught fire in flight due to faulty maintenance. Another incident occurred the next day. On Saturday, 9 October 2010, another aircraft from the same airline made another emergency landing with a smell of smoke in the cockpit. CAA officials began an audit of the Aeroperlas facilities to investigate and evaluate the procedures used by the airline. Also, they do not rule out the possibility of a suspension or cancellation of the Certificate of Commercial Exploitation if it becomes apparent that there were violations of the rules. Meanwhile, this newspaper (La Critica) tried to get the airline's version, the target of the sanction, however, as of press time no response had been received. (La Critica)

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Two Accidents Cause Traffic Congestion

Cars & TransportationThe Transit and Land Transport Authority (ATTT) reports vehicular congestion this morning along the Vía Tocumen and the Vía José Agustín Arango, due to two traffic accidents. The accidents are located in front of the entrance to Villa Lucre, and at the Llano Bonito exit towards the Southern Corridor. Meanwhile, in the Western part of the Province of Panama traffic is normal on the roads that lead to the Bridge of the Americas and the Centennial Bridge. Traffic is slow on the Avenida de Los Mártires. (Panama America)
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Iberia launches non-stop Panama flights with 96% of seats taken

Cars & TransportationThe FINANCIAL -- At 13:45 h today, Iberia takes off from Madrid on its maiden non-stop flight to Panama City, with 96% of its seats taken. According to Iberia, the new non-stop route reduces travel time by four hours of the Madrid – Panama leg, and signifies a nearly 55% increase in the Spanish airline’s total seat supply to Panama. Panama City is a major business destination, and to accommodate business passengers in luxury, Iberia has recently restyled and upgraded its Business Plus section, with seats that unfold into completely horizontal beds, exquisite dining based on Mediterranean cuisine, a selection of the best Spanish wines, and a first-rate on-board entertainment system. Iberia’s new non-stop flight to Panama are another indication of the airline’s commitment to Central America, where tomorrow, October 2nd, it is adding another destination, El Salvador’s capital city San Salvador, to which it will fly four times a week. Iberia also operates a daily flight to San José de Costa Rica, and four flights per week to Guatemala City. In the winter season, Iberia will fly non-stop from Madrid to Panama on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, and will also each serve Panama City via easy connections from San José or Miami on every day of the week.
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Volvo Wins Panama Order, But Can It Secure Greater Presence In Region

Cars & TransportationIn line with its strategy to penetrate emerging markets, Sweden's Volvo Group has bagged a huge order of 1,000 Volvo B7RLE bus chassis from the Transmassivo consortium in Panama. It has been a particularly impressive year for the Swedish carmaker in Latin America so far, having secured orders for 297 Volvo buses and 323 coaches from Chile and Mexico respectively earlier this year. BMI points out that in addition to growing optimism in the region, the carmaker is being helped by the widespread investment in transport infrastructure in the region, which mostly aims to improve public transport. (www.autosinsight.com)
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New Bus System Will Cost 45 Cents to Ride

Cars & TransportationThe single fare for the new Metro Bus system will be 45 cents for routes in Panama City and $1.25 for buses that use the Northern and Southern corridors, as announced yesterday by the Minister of the Presidency, Demetrio Papadimitriu. There will be a new system in place that will allow riders to transfer from one bus to another, within a period of 150 minutes (or 2.5 hours) from the time that the first payment is made.During that period, the user will be able to make as many stops or transfers as necessary to be able to reach their final destination, without having to make any additional payment.

According to the Government, there will be at least 700 kiosks installed at various points in Panama City where riders will be able to recharge swipe cards. The new rate will take affect in the month of December 2010 when the first 120 new buses will be delivered to Panama. The buses will be built by Volvo and Mercedes Benz and have a capacity for 85 passengers.

The actual passage the company should charge is 64 cents, however as the result of a negotiation between the State and the contract winner, they achieved a reduction of 15 cents through subsidies in the purchase of diesel, tires and other consumables. To lower the rate to 45 cents, the State will pay a direct subsidy of $8 million dollars annually. Minister Papadimitriu explained that every penny of the subsidy represents a contribution of $2 million dollars from the State. For his part, Dionisio Ortega, the Chairman of the Transportation Board (CANATRA) said they feel "satisfied" and that they would wait until the new system starts operating so that it will be the users who decide if they agree or not with the levels of service being provided.

In order to pay to ride the bus, users must purchase a rechargeable electronic card. The routes of the Metro Bus will run from the Albrook Mall to the La commercial center, and in the area of 24 de Diciembre to the North as far as Chilibre. Before starting the system, the concessionaire will have to make a database that will include at least 700,000 individual users, and each card will be personalized with a photograph of the user. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: Wow. So, each person riding a bus will have an individual and personalized card. No card, you can't ride. Of course this now means that the government will be able to track the daily movements of anyone but just pulling up their riding habits on the bus system database. I would have preferred something a little less "big brother" but oh well...

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