A three-day bus strike in the Colombian capital of Bogota was lifted Wednesday night after an agreement was reached between the mayor and the small bus companies protesting new transport policies, according to local media.
The strikes had caused uncertainty among Bogota commuters and chaos as protesters blocked roads. It was agreed that buses would go back into circulation Thursday morning, according to television network Caracol.
While the license plate restrictions at the heart of the protest remain in place, Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro promised to implement “follow-up measures,” though specifics were not outlined.
The mayor had insisted on only allowing buses to take part in traffic on specific weekdays.
Other measures to aid the private bus operators included monthly rent payments to companies that provided buses to the public system. The city is also to provide scrapping services for old private buses.
An official Bogota Twitter account posted a picture of the negotiating parties during a press conference, along with a statement from Petro: “We are going to more quickly implement the public system and we home that the transport companies participate actively.”
Petro also posted a tweet with the text of the agreement, saying, “The agreement with the small transport companies. Toward a modern, multimodal, integrated, and high capacity transit system.”
The license plate restrictions were created to reduce congestion, pollution, and encourage use of the public bus system. But thousands of vehicles went on strike Monday as the government began implementing the plan.
Operators of private buses complained that the law is arbitrary and violates their right to work as vehicles are restricted from operating certain days based on the number of their license plate.
This policy had already applied to personal vehicles and is now being extended to private commercial vehicles like buses.
The area of the city most heavily impacted by the strike was the south, which is populated by poorer residents.
Wednesday night, Petro encouraged Bogota residents to “use a bicycle or ride the public buses. The city will be better and more beautiful.”