By Felipe Argote
Photo Felipe Argote
Some suffer, others have good profit and others still got a benefit for political purposes or to increase its television ratings. Public transportation is a calamity that Panamanians as phlegmatic as we are suffer everyday without seing the light at the end of the cave.The "piecework" system is undoubtedly the genesis of the desperation of bus drivers and their assistants who should cover an account, before receiving the rest of the income. So they squeeze a lot amount of people in those rolling coffins. Then they run at highs speeds in that terrible roads that they destroy even more with their weight. The drama is not limited to those who are forced by necessity to use these death traps. It turns out that while the perpetrators are also victims. These drivers of low educational level (if they did they would not be thus ruthlessly exploited by the owners of the buses), with their assistants whoose job is to defend the driver of the aggressiveness of their own customers and the thieves who otherwise would take their account of the day, are the villains who are hated but in turn are also victims of overexploitation. No schedule, no holidays, no thirteenth month and even worse... without retirement. In an age when most workers do not enjoy but at least survive on a small pension that barely reached, the older driver is driving at ages over sixty years, or abandoned by their employers when they are a danger to their assets. These drivers will be seeing collecting cans or scrap recycling after years of devoting his life to be bus drivers. The problem of public transport is thus much more complex than they would like to those who have access to a microphone and and can just say we have to eliminate them all. That is good maybe to polititians in campaing time. Transport market involve about 300,000 people including the drivers and their assistants, bus owners, cleaners, mechanics, small restaurants, arts painters and others indirect workers. Remove this source would result in a raise of additional one percent level of unemployment. Thats why in spite of how unpleasant bus drivers can be any goverment must think in macroeconomic terms and strategic, rather than go with the wave of outrage caused by the death of a young boxer who tried to build a future for himself and his family, who lost his life due to the incompetence and negligence of a driver. Neither it is time to run to a transit accident with a devastating result to show contrite in front of the television cameras. This is jus to buy time, when a goverment does not have the capacity to establish a strategy to solve the problem long, medium and short term.The metrorail will take no less than four years to implement, but the system does not support four years, users will not support four years, society will not endure four years with this system. While waiting for the subway it si necesary to replace the so called "red devils" with new buses with drivers employed by the city council. On the other hand, however vile they are the owners of buses, so they can engage in other activities and not become a social burden or swelling the ranks of common criminals, they should indemnify and hold one to one bus replacing them in the same way with new buses with drivers employed by the municipality. But the bus owners to receive their compensation must surrender the bus prior to its revised seal to prevent the delivery of scrap. Must have paid all their debts, as taxes, interest values, fines and other given charges, and of course the debts which may have for injuries and death ....This would start the process to eradicate this inhuman and antihuman system and open the doors to a new system that would give them greater peace of mind and quality of life both to users as to the hateful and then hated drivers and their assistants.