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Busses Out of Control: Speeding, Criminal Activity, even Death Top the List of Problems

Article Summary:

Suburban bus riders in Guatemala are subjected to poor service daily, overcrowded units, little regard for traffic signs or precautions, buses travel too fast, and riders are often mistreated and must pay higher rates than regulated by the government. Reform is urgently needed, but when?

Photo Credit: Prensa Libre

Original Article Text From Prensa Libre, Guatemala via Google Translate :

Buses have no Control Suburban

The imposition of a prepayment system and satellite GPS control units, unleashed a wave of protests and strikes in previous weeks from the service personnel, drivers and owners who argue high cost of such equipment, but it is usually used as an excuse for the passenger, the same as they threaten to off the bus if you pay the fee arbitrarily.

Reckless Trip
According to figures from the Directorate General for Transport (DGT), so far this year 67 are injured suburban vans. The balance of the mishaps is 532 dead and 57 injured passengers, exceeding the 54 units that crashed in 2010, which left 494 injured and 45 fatalities.

The routes where more accidents occur are -39 percent of the West-Pacific and -25 percent.

According to the DGT, collisions are associated with recklessness of drivers who make inappropriate passes, as they do even on tight turns at excessive speed, resistance, and in some cases, drunk drivers or unprepared drivers.

Travelling in these units is a reckless lottery and be injured or killed, a quarter of the buses, as reported by the Directorate General of Urban Transport, uninsured or has expired, so there is no one to compensate the damage to victims.

So far this year, the DGT imposed fines on 695 drivers extra urban transit buses to operate with expired or no documents, said Miriam Portillo, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Communications.

To these problems are compounded by crime. According to data from the Transport Users Association of urban and suburban Passenger (AUTU) from January to November last, 18 passengers were killed in various units due to assaults or attacks; another 16 were wounded.

It is true that extortion is a disease that afflicts several public transport, urban and suburban, but in some cases authorities have identified the involvement of drivers, assistants and owners.

Daily transport units are assaulted Suburban. “The problem is that there is tremendous underreporting,” the president AUTU, Edgar Guerra, who noted that so far this year we have reported cases of kidnapping of buses, which are diverted from their routes to stop at predetermined points and rob the passengers belongings, and even commit rape.

Guerra believes that these events will be reduced when it enters into force on the Public Service Regulations Suburban Passenger Transportation by road, which requires employers to put the GPS system to each unit. “If you stopped or diverted without justification, will be an instant alert,” he explains. However, carriers are opposed to implementing it.

Retrieved Guild vice president of Suburban Passenger Transport (Gretexpa), Edgar Emilio Carrillo, on the shortcomings of the service, said: “I’m not going to dispute, has been more accidents, extra-urban transport-system-does not work. The problem is similar to soccer, that he was a good game should be clear rules and above all a good referee. ”

Carrillo criticized the DGT and said “is far from complying with a regulatory function. What we need is a new law, realistic and modern, that allows to regulate the system, “but declined to talk about the GPS and the prepayment.

The interviewee said the DGT licenses to operate without restriction. “In Guatemala there is no need to prove ability to engage in the business of transportation, but the DGT is obsolete and corrupt, because it is generally a political spoils, without a regulatory framework, transport can not be done,” he said.

The Gretexpa proposes a modernization of public transport in five areas: the creation of a superintendent of transportation, a reorganization of frequencies and schedules, a new law agreed with them and to subsidize companies to renew the fleet.

Carrillo did not refer to price controls or training for pilots, but to ask for better roads, “There is not a serious entrepreneur who wants to risk buying modern units at any time when the bus can be split into two as it passes through a hole on any road. ”

Link to Original Article:

From Prensa Libre, Guatemala

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