Tuesday 3 October 2023

Why the re-inspection is not free, the Aresep explains

MOPT minister insists the Aresep set the re-inspection fees and cannot be changed without the service provider making a request for a rate change

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QCOSTARICA – The re-inspection fee of the vehicular inspections now (since October 28) carried out by the DEKRA company has been a topic of discussion across the country.

At first, it was announced by Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves and his Minister of Transport (MOPT), Luis Amador, that, with the start of a new operator, the vehicular inspections would be at the price charged by the previous operator, Riteve SyC and re-inspections would be free.

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Later, the MOPT minister clarified, free with only one major (grave or dangerous) defect. For more than one major defect, the fee was a fraction of the original inspection.

In the Riteve years (2002-2022), re-inspections were half the original cost and only the faults were re-inspected within 30 days of the original inspection. In that way, vehicles with faults could resubmit any number of times, at half price for each occasion, to clear the slate of defaults, within the 30 days, without submitting to a new re-inspection.

Currently, the re-inspection for a light passenger vehicle is between a minimum of ¢1,727 and a maximum ¢1,927. Higher for other classes of vehicles.

And reports are coming that DEKRA has taken the position of applying the maximum in each case and applying the only one major fault rule, that is a vehicle with more than one major fault, has to submit to a completely new inspection and at full cost.

The Government is blaming the regulatory authority, the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos (Aresep), for the re-inspection charges.

Consulted, Edward Araya, mayor of transport at the Aresep explained that since it is a public service, no type of free service is possible.

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“The rates are based on the service at cost and the financial balance must be guaranteed, as well as the conditions of quality, accessibility and continuity of service for citizens.

“The company that provides the service must strictly abide by the rates issued by the regulatory authority and under the technical and legal conditions under which they were set,” said Araya.

To set the inspection and re-inspection rates, Araya explained that the Aresep carried out an analysis of the service provided by the previous operator. Then, based on the number of vehicles served and those that required a subsequent inspection (re-inspection), the rate was set.

In addition, Aresep added that the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT) is the entity in charge of defining the rules and parameters of the technical inspection service.

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And the rates it defined are the product of a rigorous technical analysis based on the information available as of August 12.

According to the regulatory authority, resolution RE-0101-IT-2022, issued by the Transportation Administration, resolves the adjustment requested by Minister Luis Amador for both processes.

“In the present study, tariff bands for reinspection are being defined based on the information available at this time (August 12, 2022), through which the relationship between the reinspection fee and the inspection fee was estimated.

“In this sense, the rate calculation considers that the total costs of providing the service would be covered with the income to be received through the collection of the proposed inspection and re-inspection rates,” Amador explained to Aresep.

Important to note here, despite the foregoing, the minister announced free re-inspection and that despite the fact that Dekra wanted to offer the free re-inspection service, a point confirmed by officials of the inspection service company, the Aresep did not allow it.

Without accepting responsibility of earlier statements, the MOPT Minister is holding firm on the decision of the Aresep and that if the Dekra company or any other company that provides this vehicle inspection service has the possibility of submitting a rate review request to the regulatory authority, which has the power to analyze and adjust the rates according to the information provided and the technical and economic conditions at the time of fixing.

The MOPT Minister also ignores his previous statements and now stands firm that vehicles with more than one major fault have to submit to a full (re)inspection.

“(…) when there are two or more serious components, it compromises safety and a new inspection must be done to ensure everyone’s safety,” said the Minister.

More stations to open

Despite the announcement last week that all 13 vehicle inspection stations would be opened by not later than November 24, it seems unlikely that this will occur.

The first station, located in Lagunilla, Heredia, opened last Friday. The Alajuela station, located in Coyol, was to have opened Monday, October 31. It did not. The Santo Domingo station, in Heredia, that was scheduled to be open on Wednesday, November 2, will likely not either.

Reports have both stations, as others, undergoing work in preparation for opening, but not progressing as perhaps anticipated.

 

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