Mayor Enrique Peñalosa has been on a road improvement offensive to protect the ankles and axles of Bogotanos with 68,000 potholes filled during the first seven months of this year. But there’s no sigh of relief with the heavy machinery working around the clock, as another 22,000 potholes need to be filled in order to reach the objective for 2017.
The campaign Bogotá without Potholes joins other initiatives to reclaim our streets, such as dispatching human “cones” to dissuade drivers from parking illegally. The campaign “Poder del Cono” translated as “Power of the Cone” aims to stigmatize those who abuse public space, and involves a catchy stunt of having mobility staffers dress up in conical orange suits and scream from megaphones: “Qué se mueva!” (Get moving!).
Besides alerting the entire neighborhood that someone has skimped on paying for parking, the gaggle of seven noisy human road safety cones, eventually gets the attention of the driver, who embarrassed at the commotion, drives off.
According to the Mobility Secretary, the campaign is working with 85% of all drivers willing to collaborate instead of having their cars towed. The human cones are regulars in the Zona G, Parque 93 and Usaquén’s main square. But citizens are asked to participate by uploading pictures of their barrio to the campaign’s website elpoderdelcono.com with hashtag #MalParqueado, so transit police know where to send the jovial cones.
Illegal parking is the number one infraction in the capital. During the first six months of the year, police handed out 91,954 tickets. The fine for illegal parking costs $368,900 pesos, and should the car be towed to Patios, the owner of the vehicle must pay a surcharge of $172,000 pesos for towing and first day at the pound ($64,500). Each day the car is not released by Transito, an additional $46,500 pesos is charged. So, if it takes an average of three days to release a car from Alamos, the whole experience can cost upwards of $698,000 pesos – a hefty price when trying to save on parking.
While the human cones may be the most visible campaign circulating on our streets, the mayoralty aims to improve the quality of public transport, which is seen as insecure and with arbitrary prices as a result of adulterated taximeters. A survey conducted by the Department of Mobility shows that40% of citizens find fault in excessive fare charges, and 70% of all taxi users believe that cabs don’t offer an honest service. A new campaign aimed at uniting both the taxi guild and citizen’s trust in the industry was launched in July with the slogan #SíVoyEnTaxi.
The campaign is part of a comprehensive overall of the pricing model for yellow cabs, and meters will be replaced by a mobile app similar to Uber or those used by luxury transport companies. The app will be developed between the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Information Technology and Communications. The implemention process, however, is far from immediate, allowing yellow cab companies time to adapt to a secure platform. According to Mobilidad, all taxis will have a touch screen installed on the back of the front passenger seat, detailing in- formation concerning the route, fare, driver’s details and estimated time of travel. New rates will only be charged once taxis have adapted to the platform and as of January 2018, the so-called “Yellow Revolution” must be fully operational. So, enjoy plenty of fair and transparent rides.