COSTA RICA NEWS — La Nación reported Sunday that one day recently a woman arrived at the headquarters of a Desamparados bus company, hauling a struggling boy by the collar. “Sirs,” she announced grimly, “I’m here to drop off this boy. He’s my son and he held up your bus last week.”
He had been caught by a security camera on an Auto Trasnportes de Desamparados (ADT) bus and his mother had identified him. But sadly, ATD’s Mario Bermudez commented ruefully that this was one of the few times that a robber had been caught.
Yet, bus holdups are dwindling, according to Bermudez, but unfortunately still far from rare. An average of two holdups per week occur weekly on San Jose’s public transportation. Bermudez published the your gangster’s photo but even with only the rare security camera footage, arrests are few.
San Jose leads the nation in the number of bus robberies with Puntarenas trailing. Last week, the driver of an INA-Uruca bus was shot in the head and killed resisting a robbery of a cell phone. But bus companies have not been napping and have invested heavily in preventives, Maritza Hernandez of the Transport Chamber.
“It’s a great obligation we have on bus company shoulders because we transport 80% of the population. In a robbery, drivers and passengers are exposed to danger,” he told La Nacion. That is why so far, the police have trained more than 500 drivers what to do in case of a robbery.
Lest we are led to believe that this is an uncontrolled Wild West situation, Juan Jose Andrade, director of the national police force, notes that there are 4,500 buses in the country and police do conduct stoppages for searches for firearms, drugs and evidence of robberies.
But one other weapon is on the side of bus owners — electronic fare paying. “Robbers want money and with electronic payment, there is none to steal,” says second in command of the Transport Ministry Sebastian Urbina.
Article by iNews.co.cr, reposted with permission