Catch 22 keeps bus passengers in the rain along major highway

An open air bus stop on the Bernardo Soto highway just west of Juan Santamaría airport is so bad it has been written up in Spanish-language newspapers.

There was no protection for bus passengers, and there is a big pool of water at the site.

The government did not seem to be responsive, so residents of the Villa Nueva area decided to take matters into their own hands. Architectural designs, building materials and construction costs were donated, and residents began erecting a modern bus shelter.

That is until the police came. Apparently doing this type of construction is against the law. Police said the residents needed a permit.

“Then we gathered over 200 signatures asking for the authorities to grant us a permit, but no one knew how to get one or where,” said John Koger, one of the residents.  “We took it to the courts, and they said ‘No permit. You need to tear it down.’   In short, there is no way to get a permit, so people just put up their own, and the government looks the other way, except with us.”

Koger noted that the Ministerio de Obras Públicas, the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad and the Municipalidad de Alajuela all claim they have no power to issue a bus shelter permit.

So the bus users are seeking a decree from President Laura Chinchilla so they can put up the bus shelter. Koger notes that the project will cost the country nothing. So far, no dice.

They will gather Saturday at 10 a.m. to promote their effort. Otherwise, the shelter will have to be demolished.

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