Public transport operators in Bogota will strike on Monday, July 23, in response to a law that prohibits drivers from using their vehicles on certain days.
The Association of Small Transporters (Apetrans), have announced that as many as 17,000 public minibuses, vans and buses will not be available to citizens on Monday.
According to Apetrans president, Alfonso Perez, the government’s ‘Pico y Placa’ law has forced an increasing number of drivers to abandon the industry and sell their vehicles.
The ‘Pico y Placa’ act restricts 40% of vehicles from traveling during peak hours to encourage the use of public transport and reduce traffic congestion. Car owners are prohibited from using their vehicles on certain days from 7AM to 9AM and from 5:30PM to 7:30PM, Monday to Friday, according to the last digit on the license plate. ‘Pico y Plata’ is part of Bogota local government’s efforts to develop an alternative transportation model, often referred to as the “Bogotá Project.”
A more sustainable transportation system in Colombia’s capital is warranted. Approximately 80% of Bogota’s residents use public transport daily, yet 95% of vehicles congesting the roads are privately-owned. According to city records, almost 70% of trips shorter than three kilometers are made by car. In the long-term, Pico y Plata could potentially reduce car dependency in Bogota.
This is not the first time the group has ordered a strike to protest Pico y Plata. In March 2010, more than 16,000 Bogota bus drivers staged a strike, stranding thousands of commuters in the capital city. The next day the protesters were joined by nearly 20,000 taxi drivers and inter-municipal bus drivers.