National bus companies are threatening to go on strike Oct. 2 if the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) does not approve increases in bus fares.
Bus companies will not be able to continue operating without fare increases, said Maritza Hernández, president of the Chamber of Transportation Providers. A bus strike would affect at least 1.2 million Costa Ricans, she said.
“We’re suffocating, and without new rates we could face a technical shut-down,” Hernández said. Bus fares were last raised in October 2005.
Additionally, bus companies are seeking reforms to a law that requires every public bus to be equipped with a ramp for wheelchair users.
Public Works and Transport Minister Karla González has promised to push forward legislation to reform this law and give bus companies more time to install ramps.
González also said she would appeal to ARESEP to speed up the process of approving new bus fares.
Hernández said the deadline for these reforms to be passed, Oct. 2, is non-negotiable.
If the government demands that companies buy and install ramps, it should first repair the country’s roads and sidewalks, she said.