Local December 31, 2023 | 12:00 pm

Inland travel on New Year’s Eve “is slow”

Santo Domingo—With only a few hours remaining to welcome 2024, the bus stops leading to the country’s different provinces show little movement of passengers.

Given this situation, the bus drivers and conductors are anxious since they usually have better entrances for these holidays, but now it isn’t enjoyable.

Since early in the morning, at the bus stop of the Caribe Tours company on Máximo Gómez Avenue, the arrival of passengers was not as crowded as expected, although as time went by, it increased a little, according to Fermín Pérez, a driver of the Santo Domingo-Santiago route.

Jattna Brito and her two companions, young like her, were looking for their tickets.

When approached, she said, “This New Year’s Eve, I intend to get together with my closest friends and enjoy myself, awaiting the arrival of 2024 in an atmosphere of harmony and festivity.”

The movement of vehicles and the coming and going of people are characteristic of Duarte Avenue, where there are also several routes leading to the south of the country. Amidst all the movement of the popular avenue, the lines to board the buses were scarce and even non-existent in some cases.

José Francisco Pérez, a Santo Domingo-Barahona route driver, said, “Last year at this time, I had been on the road for a long time.” He specified that he usually makes two daily trips, but at one o’clock in the afternoon, he had not yet left for the first one.

Without an increase in fares for travel on holidays, David Soriano, one of the operators of the Santo Domingo-Higüey, Bávaro-Punta Cana route, corroborated that the flow of passengers was increasing “little by little,” as the hours of the day progressed and described the atmosphere as “regular.”

The conductor, Víctor Enrique de Óleo Montero, of the Santo Domingo-El Cercado line, said that “everything was slack” since last year, before arriving at the stop, the bus was already full.

Unlike other routes, Enrique de Óleo assured that five days ago, there was an increase of 100 pesos in the fare to El Cercado due to the holidays, but he confirmed that everything would return to normal in a few days.

After having made a tour of the bus stop at kilometer 9 of the Duarte Highway, most of the drivers were leaning in front of their vehicles, anxiously awaiting the arrival of passengers.

There, we met Alexis Montero, driver of the Santo Domingo-San Francisco de Macoris route, who explained that for this date in previous years, at least 23 vehicles had already left by 1:00 pm. However, at the same time yesterday, only 13 buses made their route, making only one trip due to the situation.

“If it doesn’t improve today, which is the day of the busiest break, I don’t think it will change tomorrow,” he predicted.

In another order, agents of the General Directorate of Transit and Land Transportation (Digesett) stalked around the area, inspecting all buses’ lights, windows, tires, vehicle documentation, insurance, and registration to ensure a better trip.

Upon seeing them parked near the Km 9 bus stop, Montero said, “These people have already checked all the buses, and there were some with broken glass and slick tires. They prevented them from traveling, and the drivers had to change the damage, as the agents confiscated them”.

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