Merida, 28th March 2014 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has launched a “transport mission”, aimed at improving access to public transport.
The mission will introduce a series of new standards for public transport, along with providing new credit for carriers.
According to Maduro, the mission will “further strengthen mass transit and also protect …Venezuelan carriers”.
“The transport mission has been created for the benefit of all Venezuelans,” he stated during the launch of the mission in Vargas state.
More than 100 public transport companies and cooperatives will receive Bs 41 million in credit through the mission, Maduro announced yesterday. The carriers will have to pay 20% up front, while the other 80% of loans can be repaid over a five year period with 12% interest. The loans cover purchases of new vehicles from the Venezuelan bus manufacturer Encava, the Chinese company Yotung and Italy’s Iveco.
Maduro also approved financial resources to maintain a student ticket system until 2015. The system provides free public transport to students across the country.
During the inauguration of the initiative, Land Transport Minister Haiman El Troudi stated the transport mission will also review ticket prices for public transport in each state, promote new driver education and assess needs for infrastructure improvements. Under the mission, the government will also identify areas with insufficient public transport, and evaluate ways to establish new routes to improve coverage. To achieve this, the government will compile a database of all transport carriers, routes, assets and workers, ranging from metropolitan and long distance buses to taxis and mototaxis.
“We will have a clear idea of who [transport workers] are, where they are, how many routes exist, the units provided and the status of each of the workers,” Troudi stated.
244 new buses were supplied to five new transport systems in Vargas, Falcon and Zulia states to mark the launch of the mission.
In total, 17 new transport systems have been created in Venezuela in the last 11 months, according to Maduro.
The launch in Vargas was also accompanied by an announcement from the president that a new bus terminal at Catia La Mar is close to completion. Ten minutes from Venezuela’s largest international airport, Catia La Mar is Vargas’ most populous parish. According to Maduro, construction of the community’s new bus terminal is finished, except for “small details missing from the elevators and air conditioners”.
“It will be a terminal with all the services, amenities and peace for the people of Vargas,” Maduro stated.
Maduro called on opposition groups to engage in dialogue with the government, instead of resorting to vandalism.
“The doors of Miraflores [Palace] are open to anyone who wishes to come for peaceful dialogue,” Maduro stated.