Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bogota to New York

This past March buses in the Colombian capital went on strike. It spread to other cities, and eventually they were joined by intercity buses and taxis in a nationwide strike. Taxis deliberately blocked traffic to increase the mayhem and commuters hitchhiked with private motorists and on flatbed trucks. The strike was a result of failed attempts between trade unions and the government to negotiate a dispute over the process of exchanging old buses for newer models through 2010. Taxi drivers involved themselves both out of solidarity and because the mayor's office was refusing to abolish the payment of outstanding traffic fines beyond three years of age. Imagine if Greyhound, all the other regional bus lines, and all of the taxis in major cities along the Northeast Corridor all decided to join NYC's transit union and go on one enormous strike? Only in Colombia! The difference is that here the MTA is one system, run by the city. In Bogota each of the thousands of buses are owned and operated independently, somewhat like NYC taxicabs. But we come out looking like weasels next to our Colombian counterparts.


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