QCOSTARICA – Although the vehicular restrictions of San José does not change, the Policia de Transito (traffic police) sayS it will make exceptions in cases where a passenger vehicle has maximum occupancy.
Let me explain. Each day from Monday to Friday, two plates are restricted from circulating San Jose between 6:00am and 7:00pm – 13 hours. On Mondays, plates ending in 1 and 2; Tuesdays 3 and 4; Wednesdays 5 and 6; Thursday 7 and 8; and, Fridays 9 and 0.
The fine for violating the restriction is ¢21.963 colones.
But there are exemptions.
One case of an exemption is if a passenger vehicle carries five people or more (driver and at least four passengers) or the vehicle is at the maximum capacity for the type (as stated on the circulation permit).
That is, if a mini van with a maximum of 12 passengers is carrying five, no problem. A pick up truck with a maximum of 2, carrying two people, is also OK. An SUV with a 7 person capacity wtih only five is also OK. The caveat here is to not go over the maximum, them, altough there is no fine for violating the restriction, there would be a fine overloading the vehicle.
Another exemption is, in the case a person has two vehicles registered to his or her name and both restricted on the same day. In that case, one can get written permission to have one of the vehicles restricted on the following day. This process can be complicated, as it requires written authorization by the Viceministro de Transporte Terrestre y Seguridad Via, etc, etc, etc. and so on. Even more complicated if the vehicles are jointly registered to a married couple. This exemption, however, does not apply to a parent and sibling, for example, or two or more siblings (ie brother and sister, etc).
Yet another exemption are people with special disabilities and who cannot travel to or from work or medical appointments, for example, using public transport. This exemption requires a certificate from teh Consejo Nacional de Rehabilitación y Educación Especial and presented to the Ingeniería de Tránsito for the exemption.
And lets not forget, exempt from the vehicular restrictions are public transport (buses and taxis) and emergency (police, ambulance, fire, etc) vehicles.