Urban transit is a major hazard in Santo Domingo; vehicles destroyed.
Due?os del pa?s …en las suyas. October 9, 2009. Teofilo Bonilla, El Nacional.
The “surprise stoppage” that was carried out by the National Transportation Federation, New Option (Fenatrano) Thursday from six to ten AM wreaked havoc on the avenues of the National District and the Province of Santo Domingo and left thousands of commuters stranded. Transit in the South region was also paralyzed as ten people were injured and the windows were shattered in tens of buses.
Bus passengers had choice words for Fenatrano head Juan Hubieres, who they accused of “doing what he likes with his customers, while the authorities stay out of it because they’re afraid of him.” Student Cosiris Est?vez remarks that, “It’s been three days now that they’ve been making it hard for people to get to work or back home.”
This week, drivers affiliated with the three unions Fenatrano, Conatra and Unatrafin, have fought with each other to control the Yaguate-San Crist?bal-Ban? and Santo Domingo-San Crist?bal-Yaguate routes. Thirty-five people have been injured, drivers and passengers, by bats, stones and knives, and windows have been smashed in more than twenty buses.
Private employee Jos? Modesto says that there is chaos in the country. “They have to put a stop to this. Is there nobody who can rein in Hubieres? I’ve been here since seven AM, it’s nine o’clock now and I still haven’t been able to get a ride.”
Pirate cars have been making a killing. Some charge as much as fifty pesos for the trip from Parque Independencia to the corner of Lincoln and Churchill Avenues, or Lincoln and Jim?nez Moya Avenues, but they are filled with passengers desperate enough to pay the extra twenty pesos.
Fenatrano controls the following routes:
- Pintura-27 de Febrero-Avenida Duarte
- Parque Independencia-Avenida Bol?var-R?mulo Betancourt-esquina Caliente
- Kil?metro 12 de la S?nchez-Isabel Aguiar-Kil?metro 9 de la autopista Duarte
- La Agustinita-Tirandentes-Alma Mater-UASD
- Esquina Caliente-R?mulo Betancourt- Jim?nez Moya-Independencia-Parque
- Lope de Vega-Lincoln
- Ortega y Gasset-avenida Reyes Cat?licos
- El Torito-Hermanas Mirabal-M?ximo G?mez-UASD-Feria
Passengers coming from outlying areas of Santo Domingo Province, along the route covering kilometer markers 11 to 17 of the Americas highway, were frustrated as they tried to arrive on time at work, school, the airport, free trade zones, or errands.
Antonio Marte, of the National Confederation of Transportation (Conatra), warned Hubieres that if he continued to destroy buses registered to his union and to the National Union of Transportation and Affiliates (Unafin), he wanted to remind him “that he’s got buses too, and that no matter who gets hurt or who gets taken down, nobody steals our Yaguate route.”
Alfredo Pulinario Linares, transportation advisor to the administration, condemned the Fenatrano stoppage, now in its third day, “because the public should not be punished for a conflict between two trade groups.”
“Cambita” Linares promised that the twelve thousand drivers affiliated with his Central Committee for the Movement of the Transportation Drivers (Mochotran) will continue to provide service along the 64 routes it controls. He called on Hubieres and Marte, as well as the Surface Transportation Technology Office (OTTT) and the Transportation Reform Office (Opret) to hold a meeting to bring Fenatrano, Conatra and Unatrafin to an agreement that would spare the public further inconvenience.
Marte warned that he would not put up with further scare tactics from Hubieres. “He needs to realize that the drivers don’t want him anymore. The public will not tolerate this kind of surprise stoppage thuggery.” Marte said that this morning in Yaguate in San Crist?bal Province, ten buses had their windows smashed, seven in Las Americas, and three more on Caliente corner in the capital.
Ram?n P?rez Figuereo, director of the United National Central Committee of Transport Drivers (CNTU), also called on Diandino Pe?a of Opret to bring the drivers to the table and bring an end to the stoppages and the clashes between drivers. Arsenio Quevedo of Unatrafin blamed Hubieres for spreading terror and threatening drivers who did not want to continue as members of his organization.
Hubieres warned that the “surprise stoppages” would continue until the government ceased the “harassment, abuse and persecution” against him and the Fenatrano drivers by “paramilitary groups recruited by the police chief.” He claimed that yesterday, twelve men armed with shotguns, pistols, revolvers, knives and daggers were detained for an hour and then allowed to return to Yaguate where they attacked Fenatrano buses.