New bus system drawing closer
PANAMA. After a six month delay, the Terrestrial Transport and Transit Authority (ATTT,) has finally started the tender process for the...
PANAMA. After a six month delay, the Terrestrial Transport and Transit Authority (ATTT,) has finally started the tender process for the purchase of 420 conventional and urban buses, which will be part of President Martin Torrijos’ Urban Mobility and Transport Modernization Plan (TRANSMOVIL).
An intention to participate in the tender has to be presented by December 29, while the deadline to present offers is set for January 15, 2009 at 7:30 a.m.
The government has included specifics of the tender in the Panamacompra web portal, which details requirements for the new buses.
The document states that the government is looking for buses specifically designed for urban public transportation. Buses must be flat fronted with a rear mounted motor.
They have to be accessible without steps, allowing even disabledpassengers to step directly onto the main platform. An automatic fire extinguisher must be provided in the motor's interior compartment.
The online document does not specify the brand nor the importing country of the vehicles.
Ironically, as the government called upon the interested companies to participate in the tender process, a group of current bus drivers submitted a lawsuit to nullify the resolution that states the deadlines of the tender process. The members feel threatened by the project, and are complaining that they may be left out of business.
“We do not oppose the modernization of the transportation system in the city, but the fact that with this project we will be out of jobs, our daily sustenance,” said the transportation leader, Mariano Gonzalez.
Under the TRANSMOVIL project, bus owners will get $25,000 per bus to compensate for their loss. The government expects it will need to compensate around 1,500 buses. The problem arises in that in many cases bus drivers rent the buses from bus owners, usually affluent members of society, who do not provide a steady salary but rather pay the bus driver according to the money he brings back. Thus the constant racing in the streets in order to get the most passengers possible.
Additionally, the Users and Transport Drivers Movement has called the system a big sham, stating that unscrupulous individuals are buying up old buses for $2,000 to claim the $25,000.