At 5 a.m. on Thursday, 36 buses began operating three new routes to connect locations in the outskirts of downtown San José.
Public Works and Transport (MOPT) Vice Minister Silvia Bolaños said officials are satisfied with the opening of the new service, known as Intersectoral Routes, adding that reports from the first trips indicate that buses are operating with “significant occupancy,” and “none is operating at less than half capacity.”
The routes were added to reduce the flow of people and vehicles into the center of the capital, and to offer a transportation solution for people who normally would have to take two or more buses to travel between sites that are close to each other.
The new buses run from 5 a.m.-7 p.m. and leave every 15 minutes. The fare is a temporary six-month rate of ₡350 ($0.70) one-way.
Bus stops are located, on average, every four or five blocks, and trips take some 50 minutes each way.
Intersectoral Routes travel between La Uruca (northwest) and Escazú (southwest), Desamparados (southeast) and Moravia (northeast), and La Uruca and Guadalupe (northeast). More routes could be added after the six-months trial period.
Early Thursday, 36 officials from the Public Transport Council handed out brochures with detailed information on bus-stop locations and routes.
But the launch of the new transportation service had problems as MOPT crews on Wednesday evening were still struggling to finish posting signage and demarcation of bus stops, and many riders were unaware of their exact locations.
On Thursday MOPT officials reported that some of the new signs were stolen during the afternoon and evening hours of Wednesday.
“We are replacing the stolen signs,” Bolaños said on Thursday.
The original plan of Intersectoral Routes was outlined by MOPT in 2008, but that plan never saw the light of day as the public bidding process to grant concessions was stopped after multiple legal challenges for alleged irregularities in the process.