Chances are, if you were stuck in a traffic jam along the Carrera Septima in Bogota yesterday between 1pm and 2pm it was due to the actions of a SITP bus driver scraping alongside my Ford Ecosport whilst attempting to cut across three lanes and escape the congestion.
What a palaver.
The bus driver rolled up her window, refused to alight and talk to us and radioed in the problem to her depot, a few policemen hopped across the central reservation on the Septima and called in the problem to the Transit Police.
So good so far I suppose. Oh how wrong I was.
The traffic, piled up and I can only imagine stretched from Calle 82 probably right back into the Candelaria. People shouted at us, thoroughly unpleasant statements were made. My reaction to this was, “dude, I did not plan to be hit by an empty bus”.
But, everything started to unravel.
The transit police had been called and not surprisingly did not arrive for an hour. In fact, the officer who did arrive was en route elsewhere and decided to get things moving. So, we were attended to by an officer who had not been requested. His first statement:
“Why are you stopped, this is nothing, what do you want from this?”
Rather than pick a fight I just let him get on and measure the distances between the vehicles, the vehicles from the street and so on. Frankly, if he had tried to express greater disinterest he couldn’t have achieved it.
So Carlos Ortiz, Officer number 62006 reluctantly went about his job and continued to belittle our situation.
Finally, I had had enough.
“Officer, I would like to ask for you “comprension” in this situation. You need to understand the stress and the situation we are dealing with here.”
“What do you want from me?” he responds.
“Well, 75 per cent of your job is public relations, I expect you to be more understanding of the situation and to help us out.”
“You want me to suggest how much the bus owes you? That’s between the driver and you.”
“No, what I am hoping is that we can have this accident recorded and we can move on with our lives. But, you need to be more understanding.”
“Yes,” says Officer Carlos Ortiz, “I am a real bundle of laughter.”
So, my first encounter with the “understanding” traffic police in Bogota during an accident when I am the injured party. I will certainly think twice about being in contact with them again.
So finally, the official from the Transmilenio bendy bus system which now oversees the SITP service, arrived. Of course, this accident has nothing to do with them since they are the “umbrella organization” and have leased out this franchise to the company Consorcio Express SAS. So, already, there is no one upon whom I can pin the blame. Who is going to respond for the damage to my left tail lights? The telltale trail of Colombian bureaucracy raised its ugly head once again.
So, I am complaining. There are principles here!
If the Transit Police respond saying that there are not enough officials to tend to every accident, then, employ more, we all know that the city needs it.
Why did Officer Carlos Ortiz not take my name nor ID number? Presumably, because he did not care. I have his mobile phone number and should I ask for the report regarding this accident, I’d gamble good money that it does not exist.
The bus driver visibly paled when we gestured to the security cameras along the Carrera Septima which will undoubtedly prove her guilt. Why did she think that she could slide across three lanes like this? Who knows?
So, what have I learned from this event?
Don’t trust the police, don’t drive and don’t expect compensation. Perhaps I should get a horse?
Watch this space, tomorrow I am going to try and contact the company involved.