Government Minister, Milton Henrquez, has confirmed that Panama will be cutting off ties with Mi Bus, the Colombian company that has been managing the Metro Bus system, in order to create a nationalized transportation system.
Mi Bus has received a lot of complaints like long wait times and over crowded busses from Metro Bus users ever since the system was introduced and things have been slow to improve.
“We have reached an agreement with Mi Bus to remove itself and the state will assume the service as a public company,” Henrquez said. “The management will then be turned over to one or more private operators.”
By nationalizing the system they will be able to integrate the medium and small feeder busses (the ones that transport people from their homes to the main bus or Metro station) officially into the transportation system to improve routes and wait times. Users in areas like Chepo, Capira, La Chorrera, and Arraij¡n will be able to reliably arrive to the city for work each day.
Once the system is in place there will also be a day pass where users will be able to pay a single charge and use any form of transportation (Metro, Metro Bus, and the smaller busses) as many times as they want to throughout the day. The current cost of using the Metro Bus is subsidized at .25 cents and the Metro is subsidized at .35 cents. They haven’t revealed what the price of the day pass will be but it will be something accessible for everyone.
During my three years in Panama I’ve watched the Diablo Rojo busses slowly be replaced by the new and modern Metro Busses and the first line of the Metro opened this year. I remember the week that they officially outlawed Diablo Rojos was absolute chaos and I waited over an hour for the Metro Bus each day because they were all full. The system has vastly improved since then and now I normally don’t wait more than 10 minutes for a bus to go by, but there are still issues that have not been solved by the management company.
How do you think this will affect Panama’s public transportation? Leave a comment below: