Bogota transit strike to expand on Tuesday

The city-wide bus strike which paralyzed Bogota transport on Monday is set to expand on Tuesday, with many taxi drivers and intercity bus drivers planning to join the protest on Tuesday morning.

Colombian newspaper El Espectador is reporting that 21,000 of Bogota’s taxi drivers are planning to strike tomorrow, and that many buses that travel between Bogota and other cities will be staying parked tomorrow.

Despite the possibility of an even more difficult day of travel, Mayor Samuel Moreno vowed that he would not be pressured to give in to the striker’s demands. He also said that “pico y placa,” the the system that restricts the days that car owners may use their vehicle, would only be lifted for vehicles of public transport and not private car owners.

The strike is being led by the Association of Small Transporters (Apetrans) who are protesting the terms that the city government has presented them to sell their old vehicles and buy new ones. Apetrans manager Alfonso Perez has called the government’s terms “laughable” and hopes that the strike will encourage a return to the bargaining table.

The lack of 16,000 city buses on the road led to widespread chaos in the city on Monday, as the only available public transport system, the rapid bus transit system Transmilenio, was flooded with 150,000 more riders than normal.

Tempers flared and pedestrians flooded streets throughout the city on Monday, blocking traffic during rush hour. In the south of the city, various feeder buses into the Transmilenio system were vandalized, and the hub Portal Tunal had to be closed for two hours.

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