Driving in the Dominican Republic is a nightmare

Driving in the Dominican Republic is a nightmare

By Edilberto F Mendez Amador

Chief Correspondent of Prensa Latina in the Dominican Republic

Really, when drivers have to face the streets and avenues of this city, they think about it a few times, but since there is no other way, they start with the calculations of Waze (online application) to avoid blockages or roadblocks.

But in the rush hours of morning, noon and evening, even this valuable tool is of no help, because wherever you turn, the red snake, which is not for the faint of heart, appears.

Not only traffic jams are to blame for the stress, perhaps even more than they suffer from the irresponsibility of dozens of drivers, especially those who take public transport with the wheel in their hands, whether on four or two wheels.

A big problem for the competent authorities is to look for solutions to alleviate the situation, which is neither new nor can it be solved by entering hundreds of cars and motorcycles that are added to the existing ones every year.

Although the National Institute of Transit and Land Transportation (Intrant) optimistically intends to improve it, there are many rough edges of a problem that remains with no immediate or indirect solution in sight.

Campaigns come and go, fines the same, but drivers drive as they please with no way to stop this chaos.

They use the phone to extremes, turning from the far right to the left, ignoring traffic lights, signs, and changing directions and paths on a whim and without warning. All this maremagnum of violations is part of everyday life on the streets and avenues.

And of course not to mention the speeding, even on side streets that are hardly suitable for passing a pedestrian.

Possible palliatives, not solutions

Intrant’s CEO, Hugo Beras, who has been in the post for long, has taken a few steps to resolve the issue.

In the last few days he announced that this year the capital will have a modern traffic control center that will have an intelligent system … we’ll see how it works in the middle of the Quisqueyana jungle.

For months she has also been running a program called Parquéate Bien which, by the way, although there has been an increase in flow in the streets where it has been applied, very few, as far as the city says, are remedies containing Mercurochrome.

Parking well is nothing more than forcing drivers to position themselves not anywhere on the road, but to one side and in the direction of travel, which seems normal but is disrespected by many here.

Other measures that Beras has great confidence in are a traffic microsimulation program developed to know the situation in real time and generate the necessary proposals, and the freight traffic monitoring center installed in January last year.

The latter deserves a doctorate, because the transport of goods in a congested city with narrow streets, cars parked in front, to the side and as well as possible, becomes a real odyssey for those in charge and those who carry it out.

Perhaps one of the best things that has happened in the past few months that can alleviate the problem is the creation of bus corridors on major arteries.

The brokers intend to replace the so-called conchos (a type of popular taxi) with new units and good service to make traffic faster, since these cars are mostly in poor condition and their drivers are an example of indiscipline and bad habits in traffic .

But so far, out of 10 corridors designed, only three are working, and although they honestly provide a good, comfortable and quality service, the frequency is still not enough and, according to users, they do not solve the problem like the traditional conchos .

In any case, the organizers of this service must be given leeway to first expand and then consolidate it.

Many do not believe that the problem will be solved in this way and they are right, since it is estimated that it will only be possible through the unification of various measures of mandatory compliance and execution together with the actions of the authorities city a place where traveling in vehicles does not become a challenge for recklessness.

The intrant and the other organizations influencing Dominican transit have a high-profile task ahead of them while the majority of this populace waits to see who rings the bell because it’s urgent.

Chaos and anarchy should have no place in road traffic, because people pay for it with their lives, let’s hope that between demons and order, the latter wins.