San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Public transport

Striking taxi drivers block streets near Casa Presidencial

Formal taxi drivers on Monday took over streets near Casa Presidencial in the southeastern San José district of Zapote to protest the granting of permits by the Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) to informal taxi drivers known as porteadores. These are chauffeurs, different from what are referred to locally as “pirate” taxis, which are generally considered less-safe.

Protests were scheduled for Tuesday, but porteadores announced over the weekend they would hold a counter-demonstration Tuesday, prompting formal taxi drivers to move their protest up by one day.

Long lines of taxis parked along the road between the San Pedro roundabout and Zapote bridge (one block from Casa Presidencial) slowed traffic, and police and traffic officers blocked street access to President Laura Chinchilla’s offices.

On Friday, José Luis Quesada, a member of the National Taxi Drivers Forum, a trade association, said drivers are angry with the government for breaking a previous agreement to limit the number of permits issued to porteadores.

In July 2011, MOPT Vice Minister Rodrigo Rivera issued a small number of special-status permits to approved porteadores.

Taxistas from other provinces are expected to join the protest throughout the day.

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