A bus strike in the Colombian capital of Bogota has entered its second day, heavily affecting the outlying parts of the of city, according to local media.
Small private bus companies are striking against license plate restrictions which will limit the days they can work during the week, leaving residents in the southern and western sections of the nation’s capital with few options for transport, according to Caracol Radio.
Meanwhile, the public bus system (SITP) has been overwhelmed by passengers who would normally seek other means of transport but for the strike. It is being reported that people are experiencing long waits as buses pass by already full of passengers.
A meeting between the government and the private bus owners is taking place Tuesday in order to address the grievances at the heart of the protests, according to El Espectador newspaper. Despite the presence of government officials, strike leaders are demanding that Bogota mayor Gustavo Petro be present.
At least eight people were detained yesterday during the protests for allegedly disturbing public order. Many small buses were vandalized and groups tried to block traffic in different parts of the city.
While the intent of the new license plate restrictions is to reduce congestion on Bogota’s busy streets and encourage use of the SITP, operators of private buses complain that the law is arbitrary and violates their right to work.
Bogota’s administration has also received criticism for the increase of bus fares on the public system by around $0.05.
The city’s secretary of mobility, Constanza Garcia, has responded that “it is important to remember that the increase of the bus fare by [5 cents] announced by the mayor this past Thursday will guarantee access to the system to more than 850,000 citizens with few resources. This is the real meaning of the decision.”