panama New Bus System Will Cost 45 Cents to Ride

New Bus System Will Cost 45 Cents to Ride

Friday, August 06 2010 @ 06:49 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 11
The single fare for the new Metro Bus system will be 45 cents for routes in Panama City and $1.25 for buses that use the Northern and Southern corridors, as announced yesterday by the Minister of the Presidency, Demetrio Papadimitriu. There will be a new system in place that will allow riders to transfer from one bus to another, within a period of 150 minutes (or 2.5 hours) from the time that the first payment is made.During that period, the user will be able to make as many stops or transfers as necessary to be able to reach their final destination, without having to make any additional payment.
According to the Government, there will be at least 700 kiosks installed at various points in Panama City where riders will be able to recharge swipe cards. The new rate will take affect in the month of December 2010 when the first 120 new buses will be delivered to Panama. The buses will be built by Volvo and Mercedes Benz and have a capacity for 85 passengers.

The actual passage the company should charge is 64 cents, however as the result of a negotiation between the State and the contract winner, they achieved a reduction of 15 cents through subsidies in the purchase of diesel, tires and other consumables. To lower the rate to 45 cents, the State will pay a direct subsidy of $8 million dollars annually. Minister Papadimitriu explained that every penny of the subsidy represents a contribution of $2 million dollars from the State. For his part, Dionisio Ortega, the Chairman of the Transportation Board (CANATRA) said they feel “satisfied” and that they would wait until the new system starts operating so that it will be the users who decide if they agree or not with the levels of service being provided.

In order to pay to ride the bus, users must purchase a rechargeable electronic card. The routes of the Metro Bus will run from the Albrook Mall to the La commercial center, and in the area of 24 de Diciembre to the North as far as Chilibre. Before starting the system, the concessionaire will have to make a database that will include at least 700,000 individual users, and each card will be personalized with a photograph of the user. (Panama America)

Editor’s Comment: Wow. So, each person riding a bus will have an individual and personalized card. No card, you can’t ride. Of course this now means that the government will be able to track the daily movements of anyone but just pulling up their riding habits on the bus system database. I would have preferred something a little less “big brother” but oh well.

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