Transportation Sector Strikes Over Gas Prices

May 9, 2008

Taxi and bus drivers that transport an estimated 1.5 million people a day went on strike Monday saying they won’t start up their engines again until the government sits down to negotiate a solution to skyrocketing gas prices, the highest in Central America.

Truck drivers also went on strike this week, paralyzing the economy.

The strike comes as international oil prices topped a record $120 a barrel this week.

“There’s been no response from the president of the republic to end the strike,” said Vidal Almendárez, president of the Federation of Taxi Drivers (FENICOOTAXI).

“There have been attempts to negotiate locally, but negotiations have to happen here in the capital.”

The federation, which represents an estimated 15,000 taxi drivers nationwide, began the strike Monday along with the National Transportation Coordinator and the Interurban Transportation Directorate, which represent bus drivers.

The only bus drivers that weren’t on strike this week were those on urban Managua routes, which receive a subsidized gas price that is about half the market price for gas in Nicaragua, which this week topped 90 córdobas a gallon ($4.60).

Almandárez said the rest of the country’s bus and taxi drivers want something like the deal the Managua bus operators have. They are asking the government to sit down with transportation union leaders to find a solution to the problem.

“We seek an alternative in which the price of gasoline is frozen so we can have a reasonable

price for users. People don’t have the ability to pay these prices,” Almendárez told The Nica Times.

 

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