Thursday, July 23, 2009

More than 1.200 tickets in first day of restrictions

A driver is fined in La Sabana area in front of the National Gymnasium in San Jose, July 21,2009. Over 1,000 drivers were fined yesterday after the vehicular restriction was reinstated in the Metropolitan area and its surroundings. (Photo:Inside Costa Rica)(Inside Costa Rica) - On the first day of the reinstatement of the vehicular restrictions in San Jose, more than 1.200 drivers were fined by Transit Police officials.

The vehicular restrictions in San Jose were struck down by the Constitutional Court on June 12. The Transportation Ministry, citing the importance of limiting access to San Jose, prepared a new decree which went into effect at 6am Tuesday.

In the first hours of the restrictions, the Transit Police reported fining 215 drivers with vehicles with license plates ending in 3 or 4, taking a chance on entering the restricted area.

According to German Marin, director of the Transit Police, the high number of tickets issued is due to the lack of culture by Costa Ricans and drivers who refuse to heed to traffic controls, paying no attention to the fine of only ¢5.000 colones (less than $10), plus court costs.

However, come September 23, the fine will be ¢34.700 (about $60), an amount transit officials hope will be enough of a deterrent.

Marin explained that some 75 transit officials were dispatched to the detail of controlling the plate restriction, as well as other traffic violations.

"We want drivers to know that we are not interested in writing up a lot of tickets, but rather to improve the congestion problems", said MarĂ­n.

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