The bus with license plate 12732 operated by Transportes Zúñiga, involved in the early Thursday morning collision with another bus on the Autopista General Cañas that left 39 people injured, had not authorization to transport passengers, according to the Consejo de Transporte Público (CTP) – Public Transportation Council.
Pablo Rosales, in charge of the concessions and permits at the Public Transportation Council (CTP), confirmed that the bus is not registered with the CTP as a route bus, or of transporting students or special services. Or for anything.
That is to say that, according to the official, the vehicle should not have been on the road with passengers on board.
“We have reviewed our systems and it does not appear, it is not registered nor in a regular route, nor as special services, it does not have authorization for anything,” Rosales declared.
He added that the CTP cannot specify which route the bus was offering service on because there is no information about it.
Rosales added that the CTP will be reviewing the case closely to determine the type of sanctions that could be applied against the owners of the vehicle.
However, in a brief statement at the site of the accident, Alonzo Zuñiga, who identified himself as a representative of the bus company, alleged at the unit had its papers in order.
“Of course it does, in a referendum that is issued by law, and is in a process, as we know it is a bit slow processing all the documentation, but of course that it has everything appropriate,” he said.
In the case of the other bus involved in the collision, with license plate 6300, owned by the Station Wagon bus company, the CTP indicated it had all its papers in order.
The press office of the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS), confirmed that both buses had their “Marchamo” (circulating permit), so that the injured will have the right to receive medical attention through the Seguro Obligatorio de Automóviles (SOA).
The SOA is the compulsory insurance coverage included in the Marchamo that offers coverage of up to ¢6 million colones (US1$10,700 dollars) to each victim of a traffic accident.
The morning collision occurred at 5:40 a.m. at the bus stop in front of the immigration offices in La Uruca, on the San Jose – Alajuela direction of the Autopista General Cañas.
In total, 39 people were injured in the collision, two of them with serious injuries. One of the passengers was a woman 28 weeks pregnant.
The collision generated a tremendous traffic chaos on the west side of San Jose, from Paseo Colon and the Avenidas west to La Sabana to La Uruca, the Circunvalacion and the Ruta 27 west.
According to witnesses speaking to the morning television cameras and the print press, the blue bus (allegedly without permits) was making a regular stop, letting off and taking on passengers. At this point in the Autopista, the bus stop is in the right lane of the three lanes. There is no bus bay.
The bus (yellow and with its papers in order) was barreling down the Autopista, at a high speed some of the injured passengers asserted, slamming into the stopped bus given traffic in the other lanes did not permit the driver to swerve, to avoid hitting the stopped bus.
According to Alonso Zuñiga, representing the bus company that for the time being is in the hot seat with the authorities, the bus was providing service between San José-San Rafael de Alajuela-La Guácima, was stopped when it was hit from behind. Zuñiga added that the driver, Johanny Porras, tested negative for the usual breathalyzer given to drivers each morning.
No word was available from anyone at the Station Wagon bus company.