Published On: Thu, Jul 11th, 2013

DMO starts with Bus Shuttle project

WillemstadWILLEMSTAD – The Downtown Management Organization (DMO) has started the project Punda Tourist Shuttle on Monday, July 8th, 2013 with the aim to attract more visitors to downtown Punda

Curacao is now very aware of the blockade of the shuttle by the taxi drivers on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 which took place at Bapor Kibra. DMO is continuously working to address problems in the city center (cleaning, maintenance, security, economic development and especially parking and accessibility).

To make Punda more accessible, we have decided to offer complimentary shuttle bus to tourists staying in hotels and resorts in the area Jan Thiel and Bapor Kibra.

Punda is unfortunately not yet optimally accessible for tourists. One of the reasons is that the taxi rates are unregulated. The taxi driver may ask what he wants for a ride. The rates are far too high in our opinion. To come to our town, a tourist from Jan Thiel must pay at least ANG 70, -, back and forth. For that amount you can get a car for rent. Through their action, the taxi drivers prevented tourists to come to Punda in a better and cheaper way.

By law you need a permit if you are in the business of transporting people. DMO does not require compensation for transport with the 'Punda Tourist Shuttle' and therefore no permit is required to provide this service. This was confirmed a meeting on November 29, 2012 by Mr. Christina of Public Transport. Since the tourist does not have to pay, there is no license required. Even our legal advisor has confirmed this.

Our town is particularly valuable. Part of it is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Punda has more than 200 stores and employs thousands of Curacaons. DMO represents the retailers who are responsible for the jobs of these employees. We strive to fully exploit the potential of Punda and thus the island and to be of service to its inhabitants.

Unfortunately, we are getting a lot of opposition. Some of them are: shutting down the sewer project, no structural maintenance of downtown, no management agreement with the government since February 2010, no clarity about the construction of a second mega pier, the absence of a clear vision on the development Punda and the absence of regulated taxi fares.

As DMO we do everything to improve our downtown. The projects I Love Dushi Punda, Ban Topa Street Fair and The Punda limpi i Bunita are examples of this. The Punda Tourist Shuttle, we want to get the tourists to come to Punda. We cannot wait for the government. The help of the government is desperately needed.

On our island there are also others who offer a free shuttle for tourists. Nothing stands in their way. But it is "Lei un pa, pa tur" (what counts for you, counts for me)?

Now we hear in the media that the government, through Mr. Christina, believes that DMO needs a permit. This is the same official who told us that since no compensation is paid, there is no statutory provision prohibiting the free service to us. However, the law is clear: there is no permit required for the free transportation of tourists.

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