Thursday, July 07, 2005

Bus troubles

The price to ride buses in El Salvador is creating conflict. Claiming the rising cost of diesel fuel is harming their businesses, the private bus companies have acted unilaterally to raise bus fares from 20 to 25 cents. Over the weekend, police were ticketing bus drivers for charging the fare increase. Headlines on Saturday described more than 900 fines being given out.

Wednesday, demonstrations against the bus fare increase resulted in violence. La Opinion describes Wednesday's violent protests. High school students blocked bus routes in front of the University of El Salvador to protest the increase in bus fares. Riot police arrived. A bus was stopped, its tires punctured, and the bus set on fire. The riot police attempted to break up the demonstration using tear gas and rubber bullets. As protesters fled into the University grounds, the police pursued. This has led to protests from University officials regarding the police violating the autonomy of the university grounds.


Juanson said...

I am no expert on public transportation in Latin America, but I do have one observation. In Buenos Aires, there are large signs on every public bus that show the prices of bus fares in Santiago, Rio, and another major Latin American city (which escapes me now.) These prices are far higher than what is charged in Buenos Aires, and I believe that the bus drivers put up these signs in protest.

Most Latin American public transportation systems are a mess, but there are a few notable examples of efficient systems: the TransMilenio in Bogota and the Metro in Santiago.

eleno5485 said...

I'm in El Salvador at the moment, and I got a totally different story from the locals. We were told that the university students were rioting the hike in bus fares. It's interesting to see the different info. I sure hope things quiet down soon, although my friends don't think they will.