Holidays bring a respite from center city license plate fines

After Friday, motorists can drive into the San José center city without regard for the last number on the vehicle’ s license plate.

The dreaded license plate restrictions will not be in force again until Jan. 13, said the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes. In all, motorists will have nearly a month without restrictions over the holidays.

The fine for ignoring the restrictions is a stiff one. It is 41,098 colons or about $82. And the ministry was quick to point out that the fine will increase as of Jan. 1. Many fines in Costa Rica are a percentage of the salary of an administrative assistant in the Poder Judicial. That is called the base salary. Salaries go up Jan. 1, so the fine does, too.

Under the restrictions vehicles with the license plate ending in 1 or 2 cannot enter the center city on Mondays. Tuesday, the unlucky numbers or 3 and 4 until Friday when the numbers are 9 and 0. The period of restriction is 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The ministry itself seemed confused by the suspension. Earlier Tuesday, the ministry emitted a press release saying the suspension would be from Dec. 22 to Jan. 1. A later release contradicted the first one.

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