In order to alleviate increasing traffic problems in Puerto Vallarta’s downtown area, the city implemented a pilot program last weekend to decrease bus numbers in town by up to 50 percent. Puerto Vallarta is served by almost 30 different bus routes. Given Puerto Vallarta’s layout, most if not all routes converge in the city’s downtown area. However, whereas buses usually begin their routes full of passengers, by the time they reach downtown, many are traveling back to back, with only a handful of passengers each, even when up to 9,000 people take the public bus downtown on a daily basis.
In the past, locals have been reluctant to consider downtown as a pedestrian-only area, and they have been equally disinclined to consider having to take more than one bus to reach their destination. As part of the new pilot route program, some of the routes covering the northern outskirts of the city would only travel as far as the stadium (across from the Sheraton hotel) at which point, passengers would have to take a free transfer to another bus that would only circulate through the downtown area. In doing so, the number of buses going through downtown Puerto Vallarta would decrease.
Last weekend’s pilot program was successful in transferring over 3,000 passengers from one bus to another to continue their trip downtown without considerable delays. Amilcar Lopez Zepeda, Director of Jalisco’s Public Transportation Department, traveled from Guadalajara to oversee the operation. “We didn’t have any major problems,” he commented. Early on we had waiting times of up to six or seven minutes for passengers to transfer from one bus to another, but on average, the waiting time for the transfer was around two minutes.”
The pilot program will continue, moving forward with additional transfer spots considered at Parque Hidalgo and Parque Lazaro Cardenas, until the new transfers are fine-tuned and made official. • Tribuna de la Bahia