Traffic jams and blockades likely will return next week to Costa Rica’s roads as private chauffeurs, or porteadores, on Friday announced they will resume demonstrations against a government policy reducing their work permits by half.
Carlos González, president of the Porteadores Chamber, said at a news conference that, starting next week, drivers will stage a series of surprise blockades across the country.
The Public Transport Council (CTP), which regulates public transportation in Costa Rica, recently decided to renew only 1,324 out of 2,562 previously-existing permits for private chauffeurs, setting off a war between the government and the drivers.
That decision followed a ruling from the Government Attorney’s Office, stating the total number of permits for porteadores, known officially as Special Taxi Service, or SEETAXI, cannot exceed 30 percent of the total number of regular taxis in the country. Standard taxis currently number just over 11,000.
González did not confirm whether blockades will start Monday and only said “there will be blockades most of the week.”
He also said unlicensed taxi drivers, or piratas, will join the porteadores at protests in various provinces and stressed that they’re all ready to bear the consequences of their demonstrations.
Earlier this week Traffic Police Director Mario Calderón asked the Judicial Investigation Police to look into a recording of a conference call in which a supposed porteadora encourages others to intimidate Traffic Police officers who issue tickets to or confiscate license plates from permitless porteadores.
González denied rumors that the woman on the call was a chamber leader, however he said that the conversation was a clear example of the drivers’ desperation over losing their jobs.