Wednesday 28 July 2021

Only Twenty-one Year Olds to Drive in Pura Vida?

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Q OPINION – The Ministerio de Obras Publicas y Transportes (MOPT), the keeper of our roadways, is being asked by the Comisión Costarricense de Cooperación con la Unesco, part of the Ministry of Public Education (MEP) with a really unmemorable idea to reform the Transit Law to allow only 21-year-old people to drive, a motorcycle or a car in Costa Rica.

And, the thought is this ruling will reduce accidents, lower pollution, not to mention a reduction of vehicle traffic on the streets along with our infamous lines of stop-on-the-spot parking lots called “Presas”.

All this sounds believable except for the downside.

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Thousands of young people will be without work, the public transit system, is unreliable, a magnet for crime, cannot adequately transport workers and even younger students even now.

In the rural areas, the motorcycle is an essential part of transportation for folks who cannot afford a car, who cannot afford gasoline and who cannot afford to miss school or work.

Gasoline prices will not go down if we eliminate drivers under the age of twenty-one. It is a Costa Rican tradition that if something does not sell, raise the price and recover the loss when it does.

So it is with RECOPE.

How many tourists come here under the age of twenty-one? A thousand perhaps 5,000…we do not know. No records are kept on age. However, instincts say that we need their patronage.

Is there some kind of magic number in twenty-one? Think about it, you can legally have sex or be married at 15, but not drive a car or motorcycle?

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It is not a question of the drivers staying away from the roads, but rather the government building, maintaining roads which are much superior to our neighbors to the north and to the south.

Mass transit must be given government priority. If the government can’t fix the apocalyptic roads, we are doomed as in “Mad Max”. We will not stop massive traffic jams, so it is best to just repair the dilapidated infrastructure and hope the mass transit system can become semi-efficient to manage local as well as international traffic.

There are two major complaints of CR from Tourists: The roads and public transportation are terrible and it is a very expensive country. Neither has to do with a 21-year-old driving requirement.

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Juan Sebastian Campos
An expat from the U.S., educator and writer in English and Spanish since 1978 with a doctorate in business administrations (DBA) from the United States and Germany. A feature writer for ABC News, Copley Press and the Tribune Group with emphasis on Central America.

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