15 Mar 2010

Bogota strike ends with minor concessions

Bogota, Columbia
City authorities and Apetrans (an organization of small bus owner-drivers) have reached a deal to end a four-day strike.
The strike, in which 16,400 buses were taken off Bogota’s streets, wreaked havoc on a city that has serious mobility problems even when the public transport system is operating normally. Schools had been closed both to ensure students’ safety and also to use the school bus fleet for mass transportation.
Under the deal, the bus drivers are to receive a fixed monthly income equivalent to 1.5 percent of the value of their vehicles once they are incorporated into the new system.
Mayor Samuel Moreno had offered that figure earlier in the week and refused to raise it further amid the chaos of the strike.
At the start of the strike the drivers had demanded a 5 percent fixed monthly income – based on the value of their buses – for incorporating their vehicles into the new integrated public transport system (SITP). They lowered that demand to 3 percent and then 2 percent before agreeing to Moreno’s 1.5 percent, tax-free offer.
The drivers did succeed, however, in convincing Bogota authorities to increase by 5 percent the price the city will pay to incorporate newer vehicles into the SITP. That concession means a higher fixed monthly income, since those earnings are based on the value of the buses.

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