Saturday 27 May 2023


Paying the bills


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27 May 2023 - At The Banks - Source: BCCR

Paying the bills


QBLOGS – Everywhere, every corner and every barrio there are thousands, but thousands of cars trying to make it to work, to school, to the supermarket, to medical appointments, home, etc. Almost no place goes unscathed from massive congestion in the Central Valley.

Those living in rural zones are almost exempt from all this, except whenever they need to drive into the San Jose. But they do need to enter this hell on wheels area from time to time.

Ruta 27, the toll paying “autopista” was intended not only to offer a quick, albeit increasingly more expensive ride from San Jose to the Pacific Ocean, but also to lighten the traffic burden of the Central Valley where most people of Costa Rica both live and work.

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The autopista has done little except to kill more drivers, bikers, motorcyclist, and pedestrians.

Of this traffic, only cars and motorcycles are permissible on the autopista. But others use it freely such as runners and ‘Tour de France’ bicyclists. Especially on weekends! However, the laws, like many in “Pura Vida”, are not enforced and therefore not respected. This just adds to the headache of driving in the Valley.

The legislature has indeed taken notice and more than once.

The original concept was to limit the number of cars entering San Jose by prohibiting daily, rotating license plate numbers. As a cash cow, this is being enforced by Transit Police. But has it resulted in getting to your destination any quicker? Not at all.

Drivers have stooped so low as to steal license plates with “winning” numbers alternating them by the day I was even offered to “rent” a license plate to beat my #4, Tuesday prohibition, and those who can afford it purchase another car absent of the restricted number.

The “presas” (lines) still look like the Rose Bowl Parade, eat up expensive gasoline, spew carciogenic plumes of smoke, cause driver frustration and no matter how hard one tries; to be late for work or an appointment you will be late and that has been dubbed “Costa Rica Time”

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The government has tried staggering employees work start, which has been met with disdain. After all, if one can arrive late and leave early while receiving the same pay and benefits, why not?

Now the government, in its infinite wisdom is proposing to extend the license plate restriction rule to surrounding areas of the Central Valley and not just San Jose. Meaning more reasons to stay home, fight the law, come with ways to beat the law because people need cars in CR since public transportation is a disaster.

We have commuter trains that might or might not run on schedule, buses that are dilapidated, crowded and also might be on schedule.

You can actually get one to your desired destination without a breakdown or a driver who thinks this all about Formula 1 racing. Ergo scaring the living crap out of stacked-up passengers.

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Our friend, Chris Howard, has evolved in the values of public transportation. He almost never goes by car or taxi, only public transportation. Howard lives in Heredia one of the worst traffic jam locations on the globe. He has a system and I suggest he should be contacted through Q Costa Rica.

Remember, one of our next presidential candidates and former presidents, Jose Maria Figueres closed down INCOFER, the train company. Now it is a big deal to re-invent it, and even make it possible to travel from San Jose to the port city of Limon on one single trip where local shuttles take folks to their ultimate destination.

I just want to get from Cartago to downtown! Limon is a luxury that may come to fruition long after I am deceased.

In the meantime, the local commute should be made both comfortable and safe. Buses/commuter trains should not packed like a can of Calvo tuna, and most important, offer employees in both the public and private sector a shorter work week and telecommuting twice per week.

The Wal-Mart audit department does just that and it runs just fine. Kudos!

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Paying the bills
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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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