RICO’s DIGEST (OPINION) The promise by President Rodrigo Chaves and his Minister of Transport, Luis Amador, of lower vehicular inspection rates and free re-inspection was maybe never meant to be kept. In fact, it feels like a bait and switch.
With the passing of Riteve, the government focused on seeking a new operator and promised rates much lower than we had been paying for almost two decades.
The setting of rates is the purview of the regulatory authority, the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos (ARESEP). However, the government, as we see can use the power of decree, in many cases, to make modifications, in this case, RTV rates.
Let’s look at how things have worked out not in the best interest of we the paying public.
In August, weeks before the announcement of the DEKRA company being the temporary provider of the vehicular inspection service, the ARESEP approved a decrease of between 44% and 49% in the vehicular inspection rates.
The new rate for a passenger vehicle, ie sedan or SUV, would have a maximum of ¢8,125 colones, ¢8,766 for taxis, ¢10,702 for buses and minivans, and ¢5,354 for motorcycles. Re-inspections would be at no cost.
Read more: RTV rates will drop between 44% and 49%
Promise kept. Lower rates and no reinspection cost. MOPT minister, Luis Amador, expressed pride in the achievement and received public adulation from President Rodrigo Chaves for a “job well done”.
Until last week.
The regulatory authority set new rates. On the surface, they appeared lower than the rates approved in August, but that was for only one class of vehicle, light passenger vehicles, heavier vehicles would pay more depending on their weight class. And no more free re-inspections.
With me so far?
Now, today, a day after the DEKRA company began operations, starting at the La Lagunilla, Heredia station, we learn that three days before the Government changed, by way of a decree, the rules.
The new guideline, signed by President Rodrigo Chaves and the Minister of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT), Luis Amador, determines that vehicles with more than one serious (grave) fault will have to submit to a complete inspection again and at the full cost, which for a light passenger vehicle is ¢8,086 with the Value Added Tax (VAT)
Under the Riteve stewardship of vehicular inspections for the last 20 years, when a car presented serious faults, the owners would have up to 30 days to submit to reinspection (at half the cost of the original inspection regardless of the number of faults) only for the detected faults.
For example, two of the major faults, according to the previous operator, were brakes and gas emissions. Thus, a vehicle that had both problems or more, would get them fixed and head for reinspection, but only for the brakes and emissions. If one did not pass, it could be resubmitted again and again, within the 30 days, at the half-cost each time. The entire vehicle would have to be re-inspected only after the 30 days.
Currently, the approved rate for re-inspection is ¢2,166 (with VAT included). But, this applies only to vehicles with a single defect. Two or more, to the back of the line.
The decree was published in the official government newsletter, La Gaceta, on October 26, two days before the October 28 DEKRA start of operations. The publication of the decree went unnoticed until Friday.
Thus, given that the change is by decree, that is issued by the central government and signed by both the architects of “lower rtv rates” and not the doing of the regulatory authority, I say the governmentirosos got some ‘splainin’ to do.