Costa Rican Government Will Change Workshifts for Public Employees to Reduce Traffic Jams

presacrHave you been to San Jose, Costa Rica lately? If you have, then you know the traffic jams are becoming border line unbearable. Some 10 years ago rush hour was Monday to Friday from 7:30 am to 8:30 am and from 5:00pm to 6:30pm. But that is history past. Now, it seems that rush hour is from 6:00am to 7:00pm. Yes, you guess it right. Rush hour in San Jose is now an all-day event. Some of the main highways around San Jose and major roads inside the city seem like a big parking lot. Sometimes you can sit on traffic for about an hour and you won´t move one mile. Sounds bad? It actually is pretty bad. So much so, that San Jose citizens are starting to look for jobs in beach areas to run away from traffic jams.

As anything that happens in a country, people blame the government for the traffic jams. No, it is not a responsibility of the citizens, their horrible driving ettiquete – which is pretty much non-existent in San Jose – or the fact that there is not a carpooling culture in the country. No, if you ask a “Tico” everything is a reflection of poor government planning and lack of policies to control traffic jams.

Anyways, the government is trying to find out ways to help improve the driving situation in San Jose, and for that reason, it has submitted a decree that allows public employees to start working earlier or finish later on the day. It also opens up the possibility to work more than 8 hours four days a week and have 3 days off. This will be mandatory for employees who work for ministries and autonomous institutions, but it won´t apply to hospitals, emergency services, schools and police departments.

The decree establishes that all institutions will have to change their schedules to start the work day at 6:30am, 8:00am and 9:30am. Another possibility will be to work 10 hours a day, 4 days a week to have an extra day off during the week. An employee who chooses this model can enjoy an additional day off, besides Saturday and Sunday, on either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

One limitation is that every department will need to employee a minimum of 30% of the workforce on every work shift to guarantee that services are appropriately offered. Labor Minister, Carlos Alvarado, said that institutions will have a 30 day period, starting on July 12th, to implement the decree and make the required changes.

The decree will be effective from July 12th to November 30th, 2016. After that date, the government authorities will be able to conduct different studies about the impact of these actions in the traffic jam situation afflicting the metropolitan area.

MOPT (entity in charge of infrastructure and transportation) officials said they are analyzing some other alternatives to help reduce traffic jams in the capital city, but the studies on those areas are being conducted and the necessary actions could be implement later on.

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