Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico - The renovation of the public transportation system in Puerto Vallarta has not advanced as expected due to unforeseen problems within the Transportes Unidos del Pacífico company, the firm that was contracted to operate the city's new bus system.
According to the Vallarta Opina newspaper, on April 28, one of the bus company's principal owners was arrested for alleged cartel affiliations. He was subsequently jailed at the Puente Grande prison where, on July 11, he was found dead in his cell.
In the absence of leadership, disagreements between the company's partners over how to implement the new system - replacing the old buses with new ones, the prepaid card system and changes in bus routes - has brought the modernization of the city's public transportation service to a screeching halt - or at least a significant slowdown.
Some of the transportation service permit holders have opted to continue working in their usual manner, while others have joined the new program, which has resulted in the combination of old and new vehicles and payment systems that are causing so much confusion, frustration and annoyance for the thousands of people who use the city's public transportation system every day.
While some of the 332 new buses have already hit the streets, the prepaid card system has not been fully implemented so fares must be paid with exact change; many of them don't have air-conditioning, and stops are not being announced in advance as promised.
Meanwhile, it's business as usual for the old blue and green chatarrabuses, whose drivers continue the perilous practice of competing against each other for more fares by racing along the roadways at breakneck speeds.So, if you plan on taking a bus, be prepared to stand on a street corner with your fingers crossed and your pockets full of change. If you are lucky, a new air-conditioned bus will come along. If not, one of the old chatarrabuses will to get you to where you're going... at least for the time being.