A surplus of petrol for domestic consumption in Venezuela has contributed to massive traffic problems in the capital of Caracas.
A surplus of petrol for domestic consumption in Venezuela has contributed to massive traffic problems in the capital of Caracas. The city's road system can't cope with an increasing number of private cars. Though the cost of imported cars is still high, petrol is only eighteen cents a litre (sixty-eight cents a US Gallon). The government's short term solution is to order selected private cars off the roads for one day a week to try to ease traffic congestion.
SYNOPSIS: This kind of traffic density is a common sight in the Venezuelan capital, plagued by a lock of planning that includes a desperate transportation problem. Public transport is almost non-existent, though a subway system is under construction. The Venezuelan budget is seventy percent financed by oil earnings, and there is lots of patrol for local motorists.
But plenty of cheap petrol means that drivers can pilot their thirsty, American-designed cars, and this leads to constant traffic jams and a high level of exhaust fumes. And the government hasn't yet provided a real alternative to people driving their own cars as a means of getting around.
Instead, they have brought in their system to reduce traffic. An advertising campaign explains the rules with the slogan: "Stop your car one day -- Save it." The system is organised by license plate number -- and each car is assigned one day of the week to stay off the roads.
Despite prices up to twenty to thirty thousand dollars for imported cars, retailers report their sales are high. The move to build bigger and more efficient freeways is on, but the construction can't meet the city's existing traffic needs. The long-term problem is still to be solved, but the government hopes its campaign to keep cars off the roads will thin out the traffic and stench of exhaust fumes.