Bus strike brings central Colombian city to a standstill for 3rd time this year

Posted on Jul 7 2014 - 6:12pm by Today News
(Photo: El Diario)

Around 300 striking transit workers blockaded a main commuter route in western Colombia Monday, affecting more than 50,000 daily travelers, reported local news.  For the third time this year, bus drivers in Pereira, the capital of the central-western state of Risaralda, have gone on strike to protest a pay dispute, according to W Radio.

Some 300 bus drivers from the company Promasivo, one of two operators of the city’s Megabus service, are owed two weeks’ pay as well as their half yearly bonus, which amounts to half their salary, and have parked their buses across one of the city’s major transit routes.

The drivers have vowed not to move the buses until their demands are met, said workers’ union President Jhon Jairo Bedoya, according to W Radio.

Despite efforts by Pereira’s transit authorities to provide alternative bus services for the 50,000 commuters affected during the strike, the measures have fallen short of the demand, causing anger among commuters, reported RCN Radio.

Soon after the protest began on Monday morning, Pereira officials brought in a crane in an attempt to remove the buses, reported W Radio.

Public transportation protests across Colombia

Public transportation has become a rallying point for social unrest in 2014.

While Colombia’s second city, Medellin, has been praised for its efforts to increase efficiency and scope in public transportation services, many of Colombia’s urban areas are frustrated with transportation issues.

In February, 2,000 protestors marched in Cali in an effort to draw attention to the shortcomings of the city’s mass transit system, which underservice the city’s more impoverished areas.

MORE: Protesters march in Cali for integrated public transport

A surge of massive public transportation protests also took place earlier this year in Bogota, with the national inspector general investigating some of the protests that turned violent.

MORE: Bogota paralyzed amid public transport protests

Bogota’s Mayor Gustavo Petro spoke to protestors in March and while encouraging the protests, also promised changes to Bogota’s ailing transportation system.

MORE: Bogota Mayor calls for new public transport protest


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