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Tourists: Costera Tranport Needs Upgrade

By: Patrick Ellis | Real Acapulco News - 17 May, 2011

(Acapulco, NA 16 May) In a Novedades Acapulco story signed by Rolando Paredes, Israel Ricardi and Javier Soberanes, the paper reports on the opinion of tourists about the buses that run up and down the Costera Alemán all day. According to visitors interviewed, the buses on the Costera present a “deplorable image for a world-renowned tourist destination,” and worse, “the operators drive totally recklessly.” All locals would quickly agree. The buses give a horrible first impression of the town. Visitors new to Acapulco often are afraid to try them out.

Novedades confirmed that most buses show at least one dent, often repainted with common house paint. Others show scars from many crashes. More than half have polarized glass windows, which is against the law, and most circulate without license plates on front and back. Gloria Zepeda, a tourist from the Federal District, told reporters that she had not noticed the buses, as she just stays at her places of interest; nevertheless, she said, paying more attention to it, the bad image is obvious. “They are not so ugly; to tell the truth they could be worse, but they’re not getting any cleaner. The engines seem to work all right, but there are always dents and scratches that look bad, you have to admit.”

Rodrigo Palma, also from the Federal District, added that the biggest nuisance is the deafening noise they play over the loud speakers. “You can’t even talk with your family when on the buses,” he said. Another pointed his finger at the bus owners. “They have the responsibility, and they are the problem. They need to outfit the insides to give us users a better service,” he added. A fourth tourist interviewed complained about the poor condition of the seats and the age of the converted school buses. Francisca Hernández, another tourist, told Novedades that “the buses serving the tourists are all old; they do not present a modern image of this port, but rather the complete opposite. They are more appropriate for rural transportation. The only thing missing is the turkey.”

Another tourist from Mexico City added, “It is a shame that this city, which has the most well-known and pleasant tourist attractions forces visitors to use buses in such bad shape.” Others complained of the discourteous drivers, who race with each other down the Costera, frightening their passengers. One said, “I got to see an older lady, who carried a child in her arms, get off the bus, but the driver did not take her to the curb, and she was almost run over by a motorcycle, who could brake just in time. It seems like the drivers around here are irresponsible and cause many accidents.”

Several of those interviewed pointed their finger at local government, which seems completely indifferent to the level of service provided to tourists. “If they have no concern for tourist comfort and safety, what does that say about other responsibilities of government, like our health and security?” In fact, the local transport system is mired in political complexities. Transport police have complained that they cannot enforce the law, as the bus owners are politically well-connected and have thwarted efforts at law enforcement. Other cities, like Monterrey and Veracruz are able to provide modern bus transportation to its citizens and visitors, but in Acapulco, the conclusion is inescapable that the buses are the way they are because the government is forced to tolerate the situation.

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