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SALA IV Rules for accessible buses

August 7th, 2006

handicapsign.jpegLey (law) 7600 ((Igualdad de Oportunidades a las Personas con Discapacidad)) was approved ten years ago and required that all buses be equipped to transport handicapped individuals.

Not too surprisingly, the bus operators decided to wait ten years to see what was going to happen. What happened, of course, was that the law is now being (sort of) enforced and bus drivers are being ticketed whose vehicles are not to the new level. To date, only 12% of all buses have handicap ramps installed.

This law covers all transport vehicles including those vans used to transport tourists. SALA IV, the Costa Rican equivalent of the Supreme Court decided that law was constitutional but that an eight year extension was not, so now the bus operators must act. They are saying this cannot be done, citing a variety of reasons and stating that bus fares will go up 300% and that 90% of the buses will be withdrawn from service.

Somehow, I am having a problem thinking that ten years was not sufficient time to phase in the ramps and spreads costs and labor over that time.

Meanwhile, the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes (MOPT) has given bus operators three months grace to comply or face fines of ¢10.000 colones (us$19.41) for each bus on the road and face confiscation if compliance is not met. The bus operators have vowed to pull all the buses off the streets in protest of the law. Now THAT would be interesting as Costa Rica runs on bus service.

In any case, it appears that this matter will now be dumped on the legislature for resolution… meanwhile… no ramps.

6 Responses to “SALA IV Rules for accessible buses”

  1. ed on December 1, 2006 8:48 pm

    thanks for this info; i’ve been looking for a latin american city to go to for a month to study spanish and san jose, i’ve heard is the most wheelchair accessible in central/south america; but if there are only a few accessible busses in san jose i’d be unable to get anywhere; i would like to know what’s happened with bus situation now that the 3 months have elapsed; and also what could i expect with respect to the extent of curb cuts or curb ramps in san jose.

  2. Tim on December 3, 2006 8:53 am

    Sadly… absolutely nothing.

  3. Frank on August 7, 2010 3:30 pm

    Tim, I’ve read through most of your website. I’m a permanent part attached to a powered wheelchair unless I fall out. I need all the info available on mobility challenges in CR. Stuff like renting a van with a wheelchair lift or transport to a private residence an hour from the airport. I’m planning a possible visit to CR in Dec/Jan 2010-11.

    Any info appreciated.


  4. Tim on August 18, 2010 8:46 am

    This page may help:


    Other than that, I am afraid I cannot offer much specific assistance.

  5. SammyJo on January 19, 2014 3:56 pm

    Thanks for this info, and I searched your website and read everything on disabled access in CR. But what if I just want to live there with my husband, not travel around. Escazu seems to have paved streets and sidewalks if we do need to go out. Are their communities or residential areas that would offer a bit of social life for someone in a wheelchair?

  6. Mark Felling on April 23, 2014 9:06 pm

    I wanted to update this information. Costa Rica has made huge improvements in the past years in terms of wheelchair friendliness and accessibility. Every bus is marked as having a wheelchair lift even if a few of them are not functional, and when encountered that usually switched buses for me. Many streets have ramps though some may be steeper, and if you find a corner without one you maybe have to go 1/2-1 block to find. There are more wheelchair taxis than any other country in the world I have yet encountered. The policies towards wheelchair taxis have encouraged to the point where there is maybe 6 out on the road and can be found or flagged down fairly quickly even in a smaller town of 30,000 people. Now a note… If you are in a manual chair you will have no problems, but if you are in a power chair be prepared for the wheelchair taxis and buses less to be a little bit tight. Best to make sure your power chair is no more than 27-28 inches wide and the minimum overall length. I was able to fit in a Permobil C-500 sometimes by lifting up my legs or flipping up the foot plates. In all cases the drivers are extremely helpful and friendly. Be sure to take a long a Broadened Horizons Comfort Carrier Travel & Recreation Manual Transfer sling seat to take advantage of all of the adventure tourism opportunities! Not to mention making your flight much easier. I personally found it indispensable. http://www.BroadenedHorizons.com/comfort-carrier/