By Maria Lopez Conde, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Mayor of Rio Eduardo Paes issued a decree banning public transport vans from operating in most of the city’s Zona Sul (South Zone) yesterday. This comes as the final measure in a week marked by attempts to crack down on van networks in the city, following the brutal attack of a foreign couple aboard a van at the end of March.
“This [rule] was on the flight path,” said Paes, explaining the recent wave of crimes on the vehicles was not the sole reason behind the measure. “The forecast for it was April.”
“I am not here to say that the people who operate vans are marginal, on the other hand, the majority of them are good people. But at some point this became a police case and it was then that we created a special coordinating body to deal with this issue,” Paes affirmed yesterday, according to O Globo.
Vans are forbidden from transiting in Botafogo, Humaitá, Urca, Leme, Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Lagoa, Jardim Botânico, and Gávea. Vehicles authorized by the government will be able to circulate in the communities of Vidigal and Rocinha.
The new measure, effective Monday, April 15, bars passenger vans registered with the Municipal Secretary of Transportation (SMTR) and members of the Service of Special Complementary Passenger Urban Transportation from navigating the streets of eleven neighborhoods.
Neighborhoods like Glória, Catete, Laranjeiras, Largo do Machado and Centro will continue to be serviced by the vehicles for now. Some will still be allowed to function between Barra da Tijuca in Zona Oesta (West Zone) and Gávea.
Earlier this week, the mayor’s office stepped up its clampdown on vans by forbidding them from having tinted windows. The new rule might take an approximately 500 vans out of circulation, affecting the 100,000 passengers who ride them every day.
“Zona Sul already has a lot of transportation, it has bus, metro lines and taxis, it’s an area of the city that does not need vans,” Paes declared.
Read more (in Portuguese).
* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.