BOGOTA – Colombia’s capital, a metropolis where massive traffic jams frequently leave motorists stranded on the roads for hours, celebrated its latest Car-Free Day Thursday under sunny skies.
“This is an exercise in social integration, democracy, learning to live in a way that helps prevent global warming,” Bogota Mayor Enrique Peñalosa, the chief promoter of the initiative, said.
The mayor’s office noted bicycle riders had 42 kilometers (26 miles) of roads to ride on during Car-Free Day in addition to the city’s already extensive network of bike routes.
In addition, more than 8,000 buses that are part of Bogota’s Integrated Public Transport System were in service on Thursday.
Bogota’s 17th annual Car-Free Day, which started at 5:00 am and will run until 7:30 pm, has unfolded without incident although the public transport system is packed with passengers, some users told EFE.
Taxis, official vehicles, ambulances, school buses, heavy cargo trucks and motorcycles used by courier services are exempt from the ban.
Motorists who are caught ignoring Car-Free Day will face a 368,700-peso ($127) fine.