Car-Free in Colombia: Capital city Bogota bans private cars from roads for one day
Colombia's capital is encouraging citizens to give-up cars - at least for a few hours. Car-Free Day has been going strong in Bogota for 18 years. The initiative encourages citizens to use public transportation, bicycles or walk. But as Michelle Begue reports, not everyone is a big fan.
In February, citizens in Bogota are encouraged to step outside, walk, ride their bike or take public transportation.
On Car Free Day, almost 1.2 million private cars, and more than 300 thousand motorcycles are not allowed on the streets during 5:00 am to 7:30 pm or they can face a fine.
The government says this is a one day educational measure. They hope citizens can learn about public transportation options and use more than 460 thousand kilometers of bicycle paths in the city on a daily basis.
FABIAN MUNAR, SPOKESPERSON BOGOTA MAYOR'S OFFICE "Our statistics show that after the day without cars, we have a rise in the use of other transportation measures and we lower the use of cars and motorcycles. We also have other measures to dissuade car-use, such as the cost of parking, and a gasoline tax."
MICHELLE BEGUE BOGOTA Bogota residents voted in 2000, to make this an annual event. But on car-free day, some citizens believe there is still room for improvement.
LAURA BALLEN RESIDENT OF BOGOTA "I don't think it works, because everyone uses the bicycle, but the next day we continue to use our cars."
SERGIO PACHON MOTORCYCLE OWNER "I think it works because people use other types of transporation and they are encouraged to use their bicycle. It is an incentive for us to try out public transporation. I have a motorcycle but I only use it when I need to carry heavy things. The rest of the time I use my bike. "
CARLOS MARIO BERNAL RESIDENT OF BOGOTA "It doesn't incentivize to stop using a car but it does help the environment, so that there's less congestion, but overall people aren't motivated to stop using their car."
And Bogota's air is in need of help. In January, El Tiempo newspaper published air pollution images from last December to January 2018.
These drone images showed how cleaner the air is during the holidays when there are less cars on the road in the city. Michelle Begue, CGTN, Colombia.