By Alan Yamil Hinojosa
Nighttime public transport in Puerto Vallarta is a reality: the Ministry of Roads and Transportation (SVT) of the State of Jalisco presented the first stage of this service called “Night Owl,” which commences operation on September 16, 2011.
The nighttime public transportation system has the support of the Municipality of Vallarta, federal and local representatives as well as the hospitality industry, restaurant owners and carriers.
The ‘Night Owl’ bus service will run on a schedule that is currently not offered in Puerto Vallarta – it aims to answer the demand of both workers and tourists needing economical and secure transportation at night.
The Jalisco Secretariat of Tourism conducted a survey at 44 Gran Turismo hotels in Puerto Vallarta. The survey indicated it would be beneficial to establish a nighttime system of transportation, particularly for hotels that host events ending after 1:00 am, and hotel employees who work the late shift.
With these indicators and the feasibility studies conducted by the Agency Coordinator of the Integrated Transport Operation (OCOIT) and the State Center for Transportation Research (CEIT), it was determined that the need could be filled by utilizing 15 units on 4 routes with 114 destinations.
These routes form a network of 100 kilometers and provide coverage to 78 percent of the urban area of Puerto Vallarta, with service hours from 11:00 pm to 5:00 am, with a frequency of every 20 minutes on average. Night Owl service will begin operations next September 16 and the fare is $10 pesos.
In his speech, Monraz Villaseñor stated that this project is breaking paradigms, since it was a longstanding need without a guaranteed solution, and he reiterated that this first stage is subject to adjustments related to service demand.
Federal Deputy Zambrano Yerena noted that the issue of security was solved. Monraz Villaseñor explained that each unit will have surveillance cameras and emergency alarms, automatic payment collection boxes to prevent access to cash, and will operate in populated, well lit areas. In addition, the City of Puerto Vallarta has secured the support of the public security force to monitor the service.
The Night Owl service will not issue new permits, but will give special permits to carrier units already providing day service. Their hours will be extended, and they will operate on roads such as Francisco Boulevard Medina Ascencio, Carretera Las Palmas, Prisciliano Sanchez Road to Pitillal, 20 de Noviembre, Francisco Villa, Revolución and Avenida México, among others.