Bogota Mayor calls for new public transport protest

Posted on Mar 5 2014 - 6:53am by Rico
Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro

After protestors temporarily paralyzed the pubic transportation system of Colombia’s capital city Tuesday, Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro called to action a new protest for next week, while promising demonstrators change in the status quo.

Petro assured protestors that he would meet with the bus companies that run Bogota’s primary public transport system, the Transmilenio, and he encouraged disgruntled citizens to regroup on Tuesday March 11 to protest again in the heart of Colombia’s government, the Plaza de Bolivar.

FACT SHEET: TransMilenio

The mayor tried to compromise with the protestors, saying that their voices had been heard but they cannot continue to cripple the public transportation system on which the majority of the city is reliant.

“The demonstration cannot affect other [public transport] users any more. The proposal is to locate how we can target change in these contracts,” he told the crowd.

Even after tens of citizens were injured in clashes with anti-riot police and 8 more were arrested across the city of Bogota, Petro appeared at a bus station addressing protestors in public, attempting to calm them down. He engaged with a group of protestors in dialogue for nearly 5 hours.

MOREBogota public transport riots leave at least 30 injured and 8 in jail

The mayor, who is currently facing the real possibility of being thrown out of office due to a mishandling of his decision to publicize the garbage collection industry in Bogota, made comments that alluded to his beliefs on making more city services public. During his multi-hour talk back with the protestors, Petro implied that this is what happens when certain services are run by private enterprises, according to radio station Caracol.

In terms of actionable plans, the former guerrilla-turned mayor said that he will seek to renegotiate current contracts with the bus companies, try to get more seats on buses for passengers, and lower the price for commuters traveling between 4-6 AM to $.70.


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