“Kilometer nine! You go? Get up there!” a collector exclaimed several times to attract the passengers and start the first trip of the day. The clock marked 8:35 in the morning and a unit from the Metropolitan Bus Services Office was bound for kilometer 9 of the Duarte highway. (OMSA) left the Los Alcarrizos stop.
The President of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinaderordered that the Metropolitan Bus Services Office (OMSA) be converted into a public company, under article 356 of the Law 63-17 of Mobility, Land Transport, Transit and Road Safety of the Dominican Republic, and would be renamed Operadora Metropolitana de Servicios de Autobuses.
This institution shall be strictly owned state and its shareholders will be the Dominican State, represented by the Minister of Finance, with 99.9% of the capital stock, and the Patrimonial Fund of Reformed Companies (Fonper), with 0.1%, establishes the decree.
What does it mean to go from being a public institution to an incorporated company? For the economist, Antonio Ciriaco, the decision will allow OMSA to have its own legal personality and through its board of directors establish its own regulations.
“With his transformation he will have greater chance and freedom to make decisions, even while maintaining its public character, but with greater independence and ability to obtain its own financial resources,” he explained.
The expert cited that the OMSA will have the same status that the Dominican Oil Refinery, a company with a public percentage and registers private investments with its own legal personality. In addition, the Dominican Corporation of Electric Companies (CDEE) is an institution with “a certain level of decentralizationbut they have an organic law and their own legal reality, an action that allows them to seek and expand their economic resources,” he added.
Here the figure: 50% of the users Consulted by elDinero, he knew of the president’s decision to convert this transport into a public company.
Jonathan Arias, painter, spends RD$2,000 monthly to pay for the use of public transportation. “Maybe I will continue to allocate that same amount, but I know that the time I spend on the streets to go to work will decrease,” he said. While Deyanira Montero projects savings of RD$130by going from paying a daily ticket of RD$200 to RD$70.
Although Juan Bautista considers that saving RD$10 “it won’t be a lot”the fact of traveling in decent, comfortable and more agile transportation will be a relief for Dominicans.
Yocaimer Gonzalez is part of the 21.4% who was unaware of President Luis Abinader’s decree, however, he affirms that the decision will be a change that will benefit users. “I think it will be more affordable for us, who have fewer resources,” he considers.
However, 28.5% thought it was a public company and 21.4% were unaware of the situation. “It is an excellent decision and getting around in a cart has been a martyrdom, so I see an alternative to reduce the time on the road and the spent in fuel for my vehicles”, considered the engineer Primitivo Santana.
Indicates that it is intended RD$14,000 for fuel, but values the proposal of having an efficient and quality public transport.
At 9:09 in the morning, the bus arrived at the María Montez station on line 2 of the Santo Domingo Subway. This is equivalent to a duration of 34 minutes on the 8.1 kilometer journey.
More of 123,877,732 users have used the OMSA since 2017 in the corridors of Santiago, Santo Domingo and Barahona. Only in January 1,525,406 people moved; in February, 1,574,745; and in March, 1,882,944, figures that make a total of 4,983,095 users in the first quarter of this year.
92% of these passengers live in Santo Domingo (4,588,560), followed by 5.8% in Santiago (289,689). To a lesser extent, 0.6% in Barahona (34,846). The transportation of people in these three provinces meant income of RD$74.7 million.
By breaking down recent years into functioning of this public transport service, a decrease of 35.8% is evident, going from 24,697,649 people in 2017 to 15,841,617 in 2022, for a difference of 8,856,032 users.
In 2018 he transferred 17,910,195; 2019, 29,799,284; and 2020, 10,932,559. However, the Dominican authorities added the brokers “María Montez (C2B)” and “Casandra Damirón (C1B)” in Barahonawith 16 units in operating capacity, in February 2020. The C1B mobilized 3,669 passengers that generated income of RD$27,855 in February 2020.
Meanwhile, C2B transferred 3,669 Barahoneros, which represented income of RD$13,035. This figure represents sustainable growth between the period 2020 and 2021, going from 27,133 passengers to 85,849, that is, a difference of 58,716 clients.
In addition, the two routes contributed RD$406,890 in 2020 and RD$1.2 million in 2021. Meanwhile, the entity’s statistics record that 19,653,333 users used the transport in 2021, which represented income of RD$294,799,995.
In 2022, the former Minister of the Presidency, Lisandro Macarrulla, indicated that the Government subsidizes RD$130 for each user. This means that in practice the client would have to pay RD$145, which represents a loss for the Dominican State.
The income for the mobilization of these passengers in 2022 amounted to RD$237,610,305, the institution records. Between 2019 and 2020 there was a decrease of 63.2%, going from RD$446,285,599 to RD$163,848,829. Statistics indicate that the mobilization of 24 million people in 2017 raised RD$369,598,243 and in 2018, RD$262,759,979.
The OMSA has 24 runners, in the Greater Santo Domingo 18 corridors are registered that cross the avenues Independencia, Bolívar, Kennedy, Luperón, Hipódromo, La Barquita and Abraham Lincoln. In Santiago de los Caballeros it runs through Canabacoa, Sahdala, Gurabo and Universitario, while in Barahona it runs through María Montez and Casandra Damirón streets.
A private vehicle You may need a minimum of 45 minutes to cover two kilometers. This due to road congestion affects the capital, a situation that makes collective transport an alternative to mobilize large volumes of inhabitants.
This is stated by the director of operations of the company, Alberto Lara. “OMSA’s expansion to Los Alcarrizos will be part of the Integrated Public Transport System that will offer greater service coverage to meet demand, save time and quality of life for users,” he explained.
Lara said to the money that the 30 bus units project to mobilize 20,000 people every day for a single payment of RD$35 that will cover the cable car and omsa. According to calculations, during a month 620,000 will be transported and for 365 days it will amount to 7,300,000 users. This hauling multiplied by RD$35 will mean income of RD$255,500,000 for the Dominican State.
In the journey of about 10 minutes that includes four stations in the municipality of The Alcarrizosthe cable car will mobilize more than 4,500 people every day to go to their daily tasks such as work or university studies.
Lucila Ferrera is part of that population that she sees in this “novel” transport the way to save time and money. For 30 years, the businesswoman has been traveling at 4:00 in the morning, gets in a public car and pays RD$60 to the entrance of Los Alcarrizos to sell tea and coffee.
“The ticket will be less expensive for us who have few financial resources. Now I will only pay RD$35,” she assured.
The Metropolitan Bus Services Office (OMSA) was created through the Decree 448-97 as a dependency of the Ministry of the Presidency.
The purpose of the entity is to give the servicesafety, cleanliness and comfort of the buses.
In addition, Law 63-17 Mobility, Land Transportation, Transit and Road Safety of the Dominican Republic provides that the institution be a public or mixed public-private company that provides national transportation services.
integrated transport system
line 1inaugurated in 2009, was built with an investment of US$750 million, to operate from 6:00 in the morning to 10:30 at night, followed by line 2A with a budget of $830 million in 2012, and, in 2018, line 2B for US$385 million.
Meanwhile, the cable car, inaugurated in 2018, required an investment of $42 million and has 160 cabins, which transport 10 people at a time, with a maximum weight of 800 kilograms.
The metro and cable car transported 97,393,582 users in 2022, compared to 16,608,363 people in 2009, which shows sustainable growth since its creation, according to the Office for the Reorganization of Transport (Opret). This massive system has a cost of RD$20 per trip, which means RD$5 more than the OMSA ticket (RD$15).
“I made it out of here alive!”, exclaimed a user of the cable car. The cabin, with capacity for six passengers, becomes an attraction for some Dominicans. This is stated by the spouses Elsa and Ramón Mejía, who traveled in the transport to “see the day and get to know it.”
In addition, Margarita Minier, a resident of Los Alcarrizos, indicates that in 15 minutes she moved to her destination. “Before, in a public car it took half an hour to reach the destination, they passed full and plugs were made… I’m happy because it’s worth it, it’s more comfortable,” she said.