National Transportation Strike Announced for November 8

UPDATE as of 3:45pm on Sunday, November 7, 2021: The national transportation strike has been called off. An agreement has been reached between taxi unions and the government. Taxis and other transportation should be operating regularly tomorrow (except for Ferry Bocas, which will be closed for maintenance this Monday only). 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

A national transportation strike of 24 hours has been announced for November 8, 2021, according to a recent communication from the Bocas del Toro Chamber of Transportation. Taxi and transport services should be operating as normal until Sunday at 11:59pm and then the plan is to strike Monday, November 8 from 12:00am until 11:59pm. According to the Isla Colon taxi union, the strike may be prolonged into Tuesday if no favorable response is given.

 
The group is protesting recent price increases of fuel, to which they are requesting price controls on gasoline, or more specifically a “price ceiling,” where the government would guarantee that the price of gasoline would not surpass a certain price. This is typically achieved through government subsidies. The transportation union has stated that they would like to avoid passing the higher prices of fuel onto the passengers during these difficult economic times.
 

In a conversation with The Bocas Breeze, Bocas del Toro taxi union leader Frederico Dixon affirmed that their group finds it unjust to increase taxi fares for the users of their service. He also commented, “A price ceiling would also benefit the reduction of the cost of foods -and more here where we live- since there is no one who controls the price of these supermarkets.”

The national transportation strike of November 8 is being organized by Panama’s chamber of terrestrial transportation. There is no indication at this time as to whether the protest will affect boat taxis. At the time of this publication, boat taxis in the archipelago and between Almirante and Isla Colon are scheduled to run as normal. Ferry Bocas will shut down for maintenance on Monday, November 8.

The private shuttle service Hello Travel is scheduled to run as normal with their transport between Boquete and Bocas, however they may experience some delays as there are road blocks planned on the mainland. There are no road blocks planned for Isla Colon, however, according to the local taxi union, if so-called “pirate taxis” are found to be running on the island, the taxi union will block traffic.

 

 

October 28 was the last time transportation was halted nationally, though some taxis locally on Isla Colon were reported to be operating by the afternoon time.

The last time a national transportation strike was announced on social media, members of the community took the opportunity to complain about speeding taxis and the current state of the roads. Here are some comments via The Bocas Breeze Newspaper Facebook page in response to the October 28 taxi strike:

“I wish they would protest the road conditions.”

“Then they must respect SPEED LIMIT. Demands …and no accountability, disregard to transit laws.”

Don’t they know that if they didn’t speed, they wouldn’t use so much fuel? And save break pads. But most don’t own the cars so who cares.”

“I wish Uber would be invited in, like in Panama City. They have a system for service excellence.”

Some community members theorize that speeding taxis are doing so in order to pick up more and more  passengers during their shift in an attempt to make up for their growing costs of operations (fuel costs).

Feel free to leave a comment below or join in Bocas del Toro discussions on our Facebook and Instagram pages, where members of our community like to weigh in with their opinions on life in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

NOVEMBER 6, 2021 UPDATE

The Bocas Breeze readers had very valid questions regarding this news.

(1) Will this transportation strike affect the bus between Panama City and Bocas? Yes, it will. According to the TRANCEIBOSA, SA offices in Panama City and Almirante, they will participate in the transportation strike, and as such, will not be operating on Monday, November 8, 2021.

(2) Will the taxis be blocking the road as part of the strike?  No, they will not.  On Isla Colon, the taxis will not operate and they do not plan to obstruct any traffic (unless they learn about “pirate taxis” operating). According ot our conversation with their leader, they actually plan to do quite the opposite…

The taxi drivers plan to get together and patch up pot holes on the road to Boca del Drago, which is definitely in need of much repair. We look forward to sharing photos of this noble effort. Someone commented on Facebook suggesting that the taxis protest the road conditions, well, this is that (and even one better!), though it is true the  road in question needs a lot more than bit of patching…

Featured image from the October 28, 2021 national taxi strike is courtesy of La Estrella de Panamá

statement from the Panama Chamber of Transportation announcing the taxi strike

Photo courtesy of Pulso Informativo

 

 

Share

The Bocas Breeze is a digital and print newspaper proudly serving the Bocas del Toro community since 2004; reporting news, advertising local businesses and promoting tourism in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *