Costa Rica’s High Court Upholds Driving Restrictions

August 8, 2008

Costa Rica’s Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) shot down at least 10 injunctions against recently imposed driving restrictions in San José.

Chamber spokeswoman Andrea Marín said the restrictions, which the Public Works and Transport Ministry began

enforcing in late June, are safe for now. Judges threw out the injunctions, saying they didn’t have merit.

The filers argued the national government has no energy policy and is making the public pay for their negligence.

“They expressed that the executive branch has not taken any significant action for decades to improve the public transit system, which many citizens consider useless and obsolete,” states a legal summary of the filers’ grievances. “These restrictions don’t allow a rational use of time, and it’s not feasible to take the liberty of taking hours to get somewhere, all squashed together, uncomfortable and often mistreated by the drivers who haven’t even taken classes in human relations.”

Under the restrictions, cars with license plates ending in 1 and 2 are prohibited from operating in downtown San José as well as the Circunvalación, a beltway around the city, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays.

Cars with plates ending with 3 and 4 are banned on Tuesdays; 5 and 6 on Wednesdays; 7 and 8 on Thursdays; and 9 and 0 on Fridays. Fines for violations are ¢5,000 (roughly $9.25).

The traffic-control measures, which are also intended to reduce the country’s oil consumption, have modestly eased traffic congestion in San José.

–Nick Wilkinson

 

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