Bolivian unfortunate public transport reality

In general we can say we have a very poor public transport system, the buses, mini-buses and taxis of all kinds in general are old, used, and are considered junk in the countries of origin, on top of that, most of them come smuggled and sometimes the ‘conversion’ from the wheel to the left causes accidents.

To make things worse, public transport drivers are the ones who invariably do not comply with the law, they pick and leave passengers any place they please, extremely impolite and informal service. You get into one of those bus, country-wide and you don’t know at what time will you get to your destination, it depends on the particular mood of the driver and probable personal “priorities”.

This picture was taken in Cochabamba (Los Tiempos, April 14, 2012), last week there were blockades and fights with sticks and rocks among some taxi drivers and the police. This is how law is enforced… no respect to authority and viceversa; anarchical violent behavior is ruling our lives.

The issue: given high traffic in downtown Cochabamba, taxi’s were restrained to operate on a daily basis, given their license plates… it happens in La Paz (for all vehicles) and there are no problems. However, in Cochabamba there were many injured people as a results of this type of confrontations.

This cartoon is from El Diario, April 11, 2012. It represents how those drivers feel regarding their “contribution” to the Bolivian society.

The humongous driver represents the drivers’ union, demanding increase in the tariffs. The sign reads “Municipal Law of Urban Transport”. Below, people with signs of road safety education, technical inspection, transit police, vehicle inspection.

This drivers’ union had huge leverage since the 1970’s and their ‘ability’ to blockade roads and streets whenever they please. Most of the time to ask for tariff increases; while the vehicles they drive are considered junk elsewhere but here.

Central and regional governments are unable to come to solutions, the political power this union holds has so far prevailed, while Bolivian society has to endure a poor service, in all counts.

For those of you coming to visit Bolivia, please be aware that traveling here is at times an extreme experience… be careful!

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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