(TICO BULL by Rico) The ministry of Non Transport and Public Works (NO-MOPT) is considering charging a “toll” to enter the vehicle restricted area of San Jose.

The toll to enter the restricted area of San Jose is ¢ , but only if you get caught
The toll to enter the restricted area of San Jose is ¢27,187 colones, but only if you get caught.

The proposal is modeled after the London’s “congestion charge” and included in the online survey the NO-MOPT is conducting since last Monday (October 31).

So far more than 1,500 people have responded to the survey, says the NO-MOPT. And with the same speed and diligence the NO-MOPT applies to its road infrastructure and public works, it could be a few years away before we can see some results (of the survey).

But, before you start ranting, consider this, there is already a “congestion charge” or “toll” to enter the restricted are of San Jose that is in effect from 7:00am to 7:00pm, from Mondays to Fridays.

This toll is not like any other toll in Costa Rica, like the ones on the ruta 27, where you “pay to drive” a substandard road that the NO-MOPT calls a highway, but you and I and everyone who has or will drive it know, it is not even close to being a highway.

And, unlike the other tolls, you don’t have to pay this one up front, unless you are making a donation to not pay the toll, which is toll in itself. Still with me?

This toll comes with a “one day exemption”, on the other days applies if and only a “Transito” (traffic cop) spots you.

If you are in the heart of the city (other than on your exempt day), good chance you will be paying the toll, for there is a traffic cop at every corner of the few blocks that make city centre. Outside the city centre (but still in the restricted area), however, you have a better chance of “pegar” (hitting) the lottery than paying the toll.

This toll can even be appealed, which can delay payment for a year, maybe even more. And if you time it properly, don’t pay it on time, it will be tacked on to the Marchamo, the annual circulation permit, thus effectively delay paying for up to 3 years. Maybe even more.

What am I talking about? Have I really lost it?

Not that much. Not yet anyways.

The current “congestion charge” or “toll” of San Jose I am referring to is the cost of the traffic ticket, which is currently ¢22,187 colones.

This toll, however, you pay only if you get caught.

Article first appeared on TICO BULL, reposted with permission.

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