An US$8 million investment in 82 buses is losing value
SANTO DOMINGO. The central government, the Office for the Reorganization of Transportation (OPRET) and the Fund for the Development of Ground Transportation (Fondet) still do not know what to do with more than 70 buses, of a total of 82, which were acquired for the feeder routes of the Santo Domingo Metro. The first 45 units arrived in country in April 2012, some 23 months ago. Nearly two years later, the US$8 million investment is at a standstill and losing value.
They are Hyundai buses, with a maximum capacity of 52 persons, 24 seats and are air conditioned. They are in better condition than any other that the state has, and they are stuck in a parking lot at the Naval Base of the Dominican Armada.
In the meantime, they depreciate and receive maintenance which was part of the purchase contract for four years, and could well be put to better use with the machines providing service to citizens.
During a visit by Diario Libre to the outside of the parking lot of the Armada, where they could barely see a few of the units, one of them with a broken glass in the door; this is a sign that these machines are depreciating without being used. Of the 82 units, some are being used to provide transportation service for the Opret employees that work the night shift.
More than 70 units are parked. “That the vehicles are losing value is true; but they are not abandoned,” the deputy director of Opret, Leonel Carrasco, told Diario Libre while he put the use that will be given to the units in the hands of the government. On previous occasions, Carrasco has favored that the vehicles be handled by a public transportation entity. Cristobal Cardosa, the director of Fondet, admits that the buses need to be used, but he defends his management. “The role of Fondet was to acquire the buses in accordance with the law. There was a tender; they were purchased; they were received, and they were put in a place where they receive maintenance and are guarded. The government should decide what to do,” he said.
Neither Metro nor OMSA
In spite of the fact that different sectors of syndicated public transportation and municipal authorities have asked that these vehicles be put into operation in order to support the service of the Metro lines, the government has not yet decided what to do. The buses were purchased to establish a pilot plan of feeder routes that would support the Mama Tingo Station in Villa Mella, with the sectors of Punta, Sabana Perdida, La Victoria, Nueva Isabela, and Haras Nacionales.
The Opret has said that there is a lack of funding to put the feeder routes into service; because they say that they want to “guarantee that the people receive the same service as on the Metro,” which would mean the finishing of the bus terminals, and the contracting and training of hundreds of employees.
In the meantime, the citizens receive a poor transportation service through the Metropolitan Office of Bus Service (OMSA), whose fleet has some 110 dilapidated buses of the 300 that they need to have in service.
Category: DR News |