Bogota’s bus strike continues to immobilize the nation’s capital Wednesday, with negotiations between transport trade union Apetrans and the government at a standstill.
The two parties were scheduled to meet early Wednesday morning to attempt to negotiate their dispute over the process of exchanging old buses for newer models throughout 2010.
However Apetrans representatives did not show up and the government is hoping to meet with the transport union later today.
Apetrans rejected the government’s offer to pay drivers who exchange their bus, 1.5% of the total value of the bus, per annum, for the next 20 years.
Colombian media report that Alfonso Perez, Apetrans president, is seeking between 1.7% and 2% per bus, per annum. Perez said he is also negotiating for the release of Apetrans members arrested for disturbing public order during the strike.
Apetrans called the strike of some 16,000 Bogota bus drivers from 12am Monday morning. Entering into its third day, the bus strike leaves thousands of Bogotanos without transportation.
Semana reported that frustrations have led to acts of violence against cars and buildings resulting in an estimated $400,000 worth of damage. Police also reported clashes with protesters.
The National Federation of Shop-keepers (Fenalco) reported close to a 60% drop in sales in Bogota due to the strike. Gas distributors have also reported great losses.
Authorities have suspended “pico y placa” – the system that restricts the days that car owners may use their vehicles – to enable more people to get around.