Transport officials have decided to waive vehicle restrictions in communities other than San José, but the possibility will be studied.
That was a decision announced Wednesday by Francisco Jiménez, minister of Obras Públicas y Transportes. However, as expected, the ministry will resume stricter traffic controls in the metro area. Prohibitions against vehicles with the incorrect plate number will be broadened to cover the period from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Officials had reduced the prohibition to just peak hours.
The prohibited license plate numbers will continue to be 1 and 2 on Monday, 3 and 4 on Tuesday, 5 and 6 on Wednesday, 7 and 8 on Thursday and 9 and 0 on Friday. This will go into effect May 2.
An exception will be between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. for passenger cars containing four persons. The government is trying to encourage car pooling.
Taxis, emergency vehicles and vehicles used to repair utilities will continue to be exempted from the regulations.
The ministry also will be cracking down on buses that block traffic by not stopping in approved areas. This will take place all over the Central Valley, the ministry said.
The ministry will continue to have special lanes on the major highways for buses, but taxis containing passengers also will be allowed to use these lanes, the ministry said.
The ministry said it will keep 167,000 cars out of the center of the capital each day. The borders will continue to be Pavas and La Uruca on the west and the Circunvalación on the south and east. The main highway of Calle Blanco is the limit on the north. Signs with maps are posted on the perimeters.
The fine for violation of restricted days is 31,600 colons or about $64.
Officials said they also will be cracking down on trucks, which are prohibited every day from the same zone at peak hours.
The ministry also promises to optimize the automatic traffic signal system in the center city.
Another reason for the prohibitions is to save gasoline. Costa Rica imports all its petroleum.