Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Protesting Against Progress

Protesters charge that the new public transit arrangement will raise charges for users. That may be true, but is a problem of design, not the concept. 

A few dozen people marched today down Seventh Ave. protesting against the planned Integrated System of Public Transit, or SITP, which is supposed to coordinate the existing TransMilenio system, private buses, planned subway and other transit systems.

It's a clear necessity, as a glance at Bogotá's chaos and traffic jams will show. But as the reforms remove some old buses from the streets - which is a necessity - some people will lose incomes. And those people are protesting to keep the existing, dysfunctional system in place.

'Higher bus fares, more crowded buses, more unemployment.'

Also out demonstrating, and with good reason, were the Bicitaxistas, the operators of big pedicabs. Altho they fill a great need, don't pollute and contribute little to traffic congestion, these vehicles aren't legal, and police sometimes confisticate them from their owners. Why doesn't this change? The only reason I can think of is political pressure by owners of the regular, polluting, traffic-jamming taxis, who fear losing business.

'We demand that they let us work!'

Finally, a few shots I took today of the existing, inefficient, terribly polluting bus system, which today's marchers are defending:

Chronic congestion on Carrera 10. When will the TransMilenio line finally start functioning here?
With traffic at a standstill, this guy used time to wash his bus. 

It's not often that you capture two buses side by side belching different colored smoke.

This man apparently decided he'd move faster on foot. 
The other day El Tiempo observed that the old buses poison us with their fumes 'with total impunity.'

A cyclist rolls past cars. 

A woman covers her mouth against bus fumes. 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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