|Bus-free day? Calle 26, usually busy with private buses.|
|Calle 26 this afternoon near the Central Cemetery.|
Petro's solution was draconian: Expanding the city's failed Pico y Placa anti-traffic congestion rule from private cars to the private buses, banning them from the streets two days each week depending on the last digit of their license plates. The law has been on the books for years, named the 'Environmental Pico y Placa.' Since 'clean air' is not in this mayor's vocabulary, the law had been forgotten - until Petro needed a weapon in his battle with the private bus companies. Now Petro decided to enforce it, but evidently with no environmental criteria.
|Calle 26 on a normal afternoon.|
The move does make some sense, since transit specialists agree that Bogotá has an excess of buses, many of which are old and polluting. But the law's real, thinly-disguised motivation was to force passengers onto the SITP buses. Inconveniently, however, many pointed out that many outlying neighborhoods lack SITP lines.
The strike dramatically reduced traffic in central Bogotá. But that was probably also because many people just stayed home today. As for the SITP buses, while they appeared to carry more passengers than usual, I saw many that were nearly empty or carried few passengers, despite the strike.
Will the bus companies persist in their strike? Can Petro take the political cost? Tune in in a few days.
|A lone bus on Carrera 10, which is usually back-to-back buses.|
|A line of SITP buses in Teusaquillo.|
|A SITP bus with an impressive number of passengers. (The man on the bench is displaying his solidarity with the bus strike.)|
|Despite the strike, this SITP bus was nearly empty.|
|Green is not clean. A (private) bus belches smoke today.|