Friday, July 11, 2008

Driving restrictions move to 13-hour periods

(Photo: Pablo Montiel / La Prensa Libre)By Fabian Borges
Tico Times Staff

Starting today, San Jose driving restrictions will be in effect for 13-hour periods, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., a switch from the proposed 24-hour ban that was supposed to take effect Thursday.

The Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) cited security and technical considerations with bus routes for the change, according to a ministry press release.

MOPT also eased restrictions for heavy trucks, whose city driving ban now runs from 6to 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 to 7 p.m.

Cars with license plates ending in 7 and 8 will be prohibited from traveling in downtown San Jose and within the circunvalacion during the 13-hour period on Thursdays.

Cars with license plates ending in 1 and 2 will be prohibited on Mondays. License plates ending in 3 and 4 will be banned on Tuesdays, cars with licenses ending in 5 and 6 on Wednesdays and 9 and 0 on Fridays.

The measures, which are aimed at reducing the country's oil consumption, have helped ease traffic congestion in San Jose in recent weeks. The restrictions originally applied to rush hours from 6-8:30 a.m. and from 4:30-7 p.m. but then officials decided to extend the ban.

The restrictions do not apply to motorcycles, public transportation vehicles, school buses, and vehicles of disabled people. Heavy vehicles are not allowed to travel on the freeways that lead to Alajuela, Cartago and Escazu during rush hours.

Motorists found in violation of these measures face a fine of ¢5,000 (roughly $9.70). By MOPT's account, transit police have issued an average of 700-750 tickets per day since the decree was first enacted June 26.

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