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Jul 17, 2017

Why Belize Buses Can’t Cross the Border to Chetumal

Beginning this past weekend, the commute to the popular shopping destination of Chetumal, Mexico ran into some issues. Blaming safety issues, Chetumal city authorities decided to have buses from Belize park near the old ADO bus terminal instead of at the new Lazaro Cardenas city market. The bus owners balked at the inconvenience and decided they would stay out of the city altogether. It means long lines to cross the border and more money spent, which is not necessarily a good thing. News Five’s Aaron Humes has both sides of the story.

 

Hugo Juarez Carrillo

Hugo Juarez Carrillo, Press and Legal Affairs, Mexican Embassy

“In this case we are talking about an agreement of the local government, the Chetumal city government, with the bus drivers and owners of Belize. And they had an understanding that they would not park anymore, the buses, close to the Lazaro Cardenas (Market), the old market, and they should go to the old bus station, closer to Wal-Mart, closer to the sea, using the main entrance of Chetumal in order to get there.”

 

Aaron Humes Reporting:

Not quite, says Omar Tillett, the owner of Omar Tillett’s Bus Line, who claims they were railroaded into that “agreement.”

 

Voice of: Omar Tillett, Owner, Omar Tillett Bus Line

“There was a person who told one of the drivers – they didn’t call, they told one of the drivers that we would be having a meeting on Friday, last Friday. When I went there – I reached late – and when I reached there, they called to tell them that we cannot park at the new market anymore.”

 

Reporter

“You were not given any warning about this?”

 

Voice of: Omar Tillett

“No. They called us, they sent to tell me that they would have a meeting; but when we gone there Friday, they just inform us that we cannot park there anymore; we will be moved from there to beside the police station – the Policia Estatal, right beside where the old ADO terminal was. It is not in the terminal; it was beside.”

 

Tillett says other demands were made which could be agreed to. But the result is inconvenience for bus owners and their passengers.

 

Voice of: Omar Tillett

“There were three issues. To move us from the new market – if they will put us to another place, well, I don’t see that bad, but there is insurance and a special drivers’ license – so I decided we can’t go ahead; so we decided to stop at the border.”

 

Reporter

“How many bus lines are agreeing to do this?”

 

Voice of: Omar Tillett

“All of us decided not to cross the border; all of the bus lines that go to Chetumal.”

 

Reporter

“So Valencia, Chell’s, BBOC…”

 

Voice of: Omar Tillett

“…all of them. It comes out more expensive for them, it comes out – they are used that we take them all the way to Chetumal and it comes out plenty cheaper for them. You know people go to Chetumal because they need to stretch their dollars, and now it’s kinda hard. I believe people have to stop – well, they will stop because the peso is bad right now and it’s not good for the customers, for the passengers, for the people who go shopping.”

 

Tillett is not anticipating a change of heart but Counselor Carrillo says it’s a matter of order and safety.

 

Hugo Juarez Carrillo

“This is a decision of the Belize bus owners not to cross to Mexico. This is not something that they are forbidden to cross – they are allowed to cross if they want to – but their decision is that they will not cross and use the area that has been [designated] in order to park their buses. This is something very easy to understand – there is law on both sides of the border; and the local authorities in Chetumal are only trying to put order on the use of foreign buses inside the city, to make it safer for people in general – for Belizeans and for Mexicans that are present when the buses are inside of the city.”

 

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

 

The bus owners will be meeting later this week and according to Tillett they will request the help of the Ministry of Transport. Chetumal-goers are advised to engage a taxi at the old Border Bridge at the Mexican side or simply walk, and on the return they will have to cross over to catch the Belize buses which will stay parked in a designated area. Carrillo said the ADO trans-b order service running from Belie City to Cancun and Merida is not affected as it only briefly stops in Chetumal and adheres to all rules of the Transport Department while in Belize.

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2 Responses for “Why Belize Buses Can’t Cross the Border to Chetumal”

  1. Marwaione says:

    Tillet, you we’re given a time and date and still late, this is the same reason why Chetumal did what they did. You people don’t know how to follow instructions.

  2. Mike G says:

    Chetumal just does not want those dilapidated unsafe Belize buses on there properly maintained streets. I don’t blame them. Wish we were that safety conscience in Belize.

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