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Study Shows Vehicle License Plate Restriction Decreases San Jose Traffic

Costa Rica News – This past weekend I had the joy (sarcasm) of driving to San Jose for a couple of meetings.  Friday because my license plate ends in the number 9 is the day I cannot enter into San Jose.  For those of you that have just started driving in Costa Rica or do not know this law it can be summarized as the following:

Certain plate numbers are not allowed into the San Jose center on the major highway areas on certain days. On these days, if someone owns a vehicle with that plate that ends in that certain number then they will need to take the bus, taxi, or carpool.costa rica traffic 1

The restriction dates are the below:

  • 1 or 2 have Monday restricted
  • 3 or 4 have Tuesday restricted
  • 5 or 6 have Wednesdays restricted
  • 7 or 8 have Thursdays restricted
  • 9 or 0 have Fridays restricted

In order to arrive at my meetings in Heredia from my hotel in Escazu I had to use back roads to get there.  The drive time from San Jose to Escazu was about an hour and a half. To get from Escazu to Heredia (I would make the assumption the worst traffic in Costa Rica) it took about an hour and 45 minutes.

According to 6 studies done by the ministry to public works the plate restriction has decreased traffic by 14 to 16%.

According to Junior Araya, director of Traffic Engineering, the congestion in major capital’s streets will not disappear completely, but the restriction has helped to mitigate the traffic problem. I would hate to see what it would be like without the license plate restriction.

I kind of lean towards what Otto Guevara of the Libertarian Movement says. He thinks that the restriction actually causes more pollution and more spending for drivers as they are forced to jam up alternate routes.

All I know is that the drive back from San Jose to the beach where I live is always a pleasurable experience.  When you come over that last bend and see the ocean it does not get much better than that.

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