Site Meter
Send Us An Email
Panama Guide

Welcome to Panama Guide
Wednesday, August 20 2014 @ 02:31 PM EDT

View Printable Version

More Than 100,000 Old Traffic Tickets - Dating Back to 2006 - Found Stashed in Boxes in the ATTT

Cars & Transportation More than 100,000 traffic tickets that have never been entered into the computer systems of the Ground Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT) were found by authorities of this institution in several small boxes. The traffic tickets, documenting infractions which date from 2006, were found in all of the ATTT offices starting last July, and it is estimated these tickets represent fines in excess of $2 million dollars. As a result of this discovery, the ATTT has hired an additional twelve data entry personnel who are dedicated exclusively to enter these violations into the ATTT computer systems, and it is expected all of the old tickets will have been entered into the system before the end of the year. The drivers who were given these tickets will have to pay the fines.

The director of the ATTT, Jorge Ricardo Fabrega said that within the entity there are people who are "dedicated to hiding papers" and in response his administration has worked to put an end to this practice. "Boxes full of old traffic tickets from all over the interior of the country have been arriving in the past four months. This is a very serious situation, involving money owed to the State, and therefore we are passing all of the information to the Comptroller," he said. According to Fabrega, "no justification exists within the offices of the ATTT for there to be boxes full of traffic tickets that should have been recorded at the time."

Investigation - In response to the negligence on the part of various ATTT officials, an investigation is being conducted in conjunction with auditors from the Comptroller General of the Republic. The treasurer of the Transit Authority, Jose Sue, although he did not specify the precise number of ATTT officials involved in this practice, said several have been removed from office in the past two months, and others have been transferred to different offices while the investigations are ongoing. In his view, these public servants committed apparent administrative offenses, therefore legal proceedings will be opened once their internal investigation is completed. He said the problem, mostly, was focused on the ATTT headquarters in Panama City. However, he said none of the provinces in the interior were above the practice of simply not recording traffic violations, which are of all kinds. Sue said the investigations are well advanced. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: Slick. Instead of paying that $50 dollar fine, you just slip $5 bucks to a corrupt ATTT official who throws your ticket into the "box." It never gets entered into the computer system, so it's like it never happened. And you mean to tell me the ATTT doesn't have internal auditing and control mechanisms in place to track the flow of each and every traffic ticket, from printing, through the hands of the police officers who hand them out, and then to their eventual final disposition as an infraction that must be paid? (Rhetorical question) Of course previous directors of the ATTT knew about the lack of controls in their internal systems, however they were getting paid to look the other way. Systematic, institutional corruption. This is EXACTLY the kind of thing the Martinelli administration has hired to root out. Unfortunately, it will take generations to make it all go away.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Long Lines At ATTT - Last Days To Avoid Hefty Fines

Cars & Transportation Hundreds of drivers today thronged the offices of the Ground Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT) in Los Pueblos, because they only have until tomorrow, 2 November 2010, to pay off all outstanding traffic tickets without having to pay late fees or other additional fines and penalties. Hundreds of people showed up and stood in long lines, because as of Wednesday, 3 November 2010, the National Police and the ATTT will begin to conduct inspections and operations in the streets, and they will impound the vehicles of any drivers who have been found in contempt of traffic court for not paying large, old, outstanding fines. Many of the people upon arriving at the cashier's window expressed their disagreement, because they said there are still tickets appearing in the system that they had already paid. The Transit Authority reported there will be no more extensions for those who have not paid their tickets. (TVN Noticias)
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Pirate Buses Causing Problems Again

Cars & TransportationPirate buses are once again at the center of a conflict. This time, bus drivers from the areas North of the capital of Panama City have raised their voices in protest to the authorities. Esteban Rodriguez, the Director of the National Transportation Board (Canatra), said on RPC Radio "there is a conspiracy in favor of the pirate taxis." He supports his point by saying these units pass right in front of the Police Station, but the police don't do anything about it. If the authorities do not respond to their complaints, the bus drivers from the areas North of the city plan to increase the amount they charge to $1.00 or cripple the service. According to Rodriguez, the pirate buses are causing them losses. (Telemetro)
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Time Running Out To Pay Outstanding Traffic Tickets

Cars & TransportationA 90 day moratorium declared by Panama's Ground Transit and Transportation Authority (ATTT) for the payment of additional "contempt" charges and fees related to outstanding traffic tickets expires next Tuesday, 2 November 2010. The ATTT declared this "moratorium" in August of this year, and it applied to drivers with outstanding fines and tickets received on or before 30 June 2010. The "moratorium" allowed for violators to pay tickets and fines without having to pay the additional fees and surcharges for being in "contempt" because they did not pay in a timely manner. Those drivers who owe $300 dollars or more in outstanding tickets and fines can enter into a payment agreement with the ATTT if they pay at least 40% of the total outstanding debt, and the rest can be paid off over time. This "moratorium" does not apply to drivers who have been sanctioned for: Driving with alcohol on the breath, driving under the influence of alcohol, racing, hit and run, running someone over, or property damage. Once the "moratorium" period expires on Tuesday, the National Police and the ATTT will work together to establish roadblocks and checkpoints to detect those who are delinquent, using the new electronic traffic ticketing devices and the "Pele Police." (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: There are literally thousands of drivers who owe the government millions of dollars in traffic fines and tickets that have not been paid. For the first time, the government has made the strategic decision to make a strong effort to collect all or most of the money they are owed. This first 90 day "moratorium" was to give a chance to people to show up under their own free will and to either pay their debts or make arrangements to pay. Now, all of that data has been entered into the system. These "contempt" charges carry the same legal weight as any other court decision, and if you are caught at a checkpoint and if you owe money, you will be arrested and dragged before the proper traffic court - where you will be forced to either pay or go to jail. They are getting serious with enforcement in this area, so heads up.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

Terrible Traffic Accident Leaves At Least 12 Dead, 16 Seriously Injured Near Santiago

Cars & TransportationSANTIAGO, Veraguas - Twelve people were killed, including one minor, and another 16 people were seriously injured in a multiple vehicle collision that occurred this afternoon on the Inter American Highway near the community of Los Cerros in the District of Santiago. In the accident an 18 wheeler, "International" make, with license plate number 956267 that was being driven by Francisco Vega, collided head-on into a bus with license number 9B-392 that was going from Panama to Santiago.

Facts - Dimas Flores, regional Director of the Ground Transit and Transportation Authority in Veraguas, said preliminary information indicates the accident occurred because the driver of the 18 wheeler, which was destined for Nata, in the province of Cocle, fell asleep behind the wheel. The first reports from traffic police say the 18 wheeler first collided with a sedan and then crossed over into the oncoming lane, where it collided with another sedan and then the bus full of passengers. Flores said the death toll, most occupants of the bus, is preliminary because another 16 persons with serious injuries have been taken to the hospital.

Forensics experts from the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences are now at the scene of the accident and they are working to recover the bodies of those who were killed, while in the emergency room of the Luis Chicho Fabrega regional hospital there are hundreds of people who have come to ask for the names of those who were injured. The other two vehicles involved were a red Mazda 323 license plate number 292093, and a white Nissan Sentra. (La Prensa)

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

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)

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

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)

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

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)
Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

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.

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
View Printable Version

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)

Share
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks