Maybe it was someone’s idea of an April Fool’s joke, or just a local demonstration of eating your cake and having it, but Panama’s South Corridor still had it’s share of Diablo’s Rojo’s on Friday, April 1.
Owners of some buses who had already received hefty government compensation for reducing pollution,and saving lives by pulling their aged and poorly serviced former school buses from the highway were still traveling the route.
The Tranist Authority ( ATTT) was not amused and started an operation to check on illegal operators.
Meanwhile some, in a last gasp cash grab, were flouting the law by traveling on the highway packed with standing passengers. An operation to detect those buses that have not been logged
In the confusion many passengers heading towards Pacora had long waits with neither diablos rojos or the new Metro buses appearing early in the morning.
ATTT spokesman, James Braddick, told TVN News: "we have detected a certain amount of buses that have not completed the clearing. " which could be due to “some negligence” by the driver or the obsolescence of the vehicle papers.
He urged owners of the defaulting buses tot go to the offices of the ATTT,to close the cycle, but added.that the bus owners knew that the time to get out of the system in the South corridor was 31 March.
The only route to be exempted from the rule was to Chepo, not reached by the Metro Bus system.
The ATTT is making compensation payments from $35,000 to $75,000 for around 600 buses, operating on the North and South Corridors.
Passengers on the smooth riding air conditioned Metro buses, are largely satisfied with the new service which is providing round the clock service to many areas, and they get a friendly welcome from the neatly dressed drivers when they board.
Boarding will be faster when the prepaid card system kicks in later in the year.
Motorists are happy, and surprised as they see Metro buses giving signals when they change lanes, and stopping at pedestrian crossings.
Those who care about about air pollution are happy and , hopefully, their joy will be shared by insurance companies as traffic accidents reduce, and hopefully there will be less call on the services of hospital ER’s and morgues as chariot races disappear from the public transit system..