An alternative to Transmovil deal
PANAMA. The implementation of the Transmovil project has given the government a big headache, due to accusations of fraud by one of the...
PANAMA. The implementation of the Transmovil project has given the government a big headache, due to accusations of fraud by one of the companies bidding and other procedural problems.
Amidst the confusion a new proposal has been put forward by the Movement of Public Transport Owners and Users (Movimiento de Transportistas y Usuarios), which proposes the introduction of 1,500 Bluebird buses, that have an individual capacity of 49 passenger, with Caterpillar engine, air conditioned Thermo King and a payment system by card, as a way to modernize the public transport.
The Movement sent a letter to the US company, Blue Bird Body Co asking it to give the organization a quote for a 100 modern buses. Later on, more orders would be placed, so that eventually all the “diablos rojos” would be side lined.
The leader of the movement, Alfredo Perea said that currently there are 1,500 places for buses, which have provided services since 1973.
According to Perea, the purpose is to change the fleet of “diablos rojos” and introduce to the Panamanian market modern vehicles, which are safe and have reasonable fares for the users.
Perea added that the problem is not only the condition of the buses, but they need maintenance, the roads have to be widened to avoid gridlock and make sure that the users arrive to their destination early.
The Transmovil project on the other hand, proposes new routes, training for drivers plus new buses as a way to answer the problem of the public transport, but many of its retractors believe that it is unfair and does not take into account the interests of the owners of buses.
Over the last few years a series of horrific accidents involving the “diablos rojos”, have made the government realize how impotant it is to replace them to avoid further tragedies.
President Martin Torrijos proposed the Ttansmovil plan over a year ago as a way to resolve the public transport problem. However, he will leave office in less than five months and it is unlikely that Transmovil plan will be fully implemented by then.
Two lawsuits have been interposed by two different groups blocking the project. There was an initial disagreemen tbefore the commission evaluating the bidding of companies hoping to win the contract to supply the new buses.
One of the lawsuit cited as a support of the cause that the payment of $25,000 per bus to the diablos rojos’ owners was unconstitutional, because it was not published in the Panama Compra web-site.
The Panama Chamber of Commerce said recently that it is imperative that the public transport issue be solved as soon as possible.