A 42-year-old bus driver of line 514, Carlos Sánchez, was murdered in an empty bus around midnight near the Claypole train station, in the Buenos Aires Province District of Almirante Brown. In reaction, drivers of 62 bus lines that have their routes in the Southern area of the Greater Buenos Aires area and are associated with the Union Tranviarios Automotor (UTA), a transportation union, decided to go on a 24-hour-long strike.
In an interview with TV channel C5N, a witness named Alberto recalled that motorcyclists shot the victim in the face and let the bus crash into the sidewalk. Police had been following the perpetrators since in the adjacent neighborhood of Solano, as they had been stealing from multiple locations, but did not arrive at the crime scene quickly enough to prevent it.
Roberto Fernandez, head of transit workers union UTA, claims the lack of safety on bus routes is “worse than war.”
“They kill us like dogs. I can talk face to face with the Governor [María Eugenia Vidal], or with the Minister [of Security, Cristian Ritondo]. But no one can guarantee anyone’s life. There must be more manpower.”
Fernandez assured reporters at Clarín that the strike will only last until midnight despite rumors that it will continue “indefinitely.” Additionally, though bus drivers such as Gabriel Carbajal of line 514 claim that they will form a protest caravan with their vehicles to La Plata (capital of the Buenos Aires province), Fernandez says this will not occur. However, several drivers did gather outside the province’s Security Ministry and burned tires to make their demands more visible.
“We tell our colleagues to be calm,” said Fernandez. “We are conducting this 24 hour long strike to try to talk to the authorities, see if we can find a solution to this problem. We need to tackle the root of the issue.”
“We have not noticed more security,” said Carbajal. “In Claypole, especially in the early morning from República Avenue to the station, there is an assured robbery each week.”
As the strike makes it hard for passengers to get to work, some schools and businesses in the region have closed for the day.
The following lines are on strike until tomorrow:
9, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 32, 33, 37, 45, 79, 85, 92, 98, 148, 159, 160, 165, 178, 247, 257, 266, 271, 277, 278, 283, 295, 299, 306, 318, 324, 354, 370, 373, 404, 500, 501, 505, 506, 514, 515, 518, 520, 521, 522, 527, 524, 526, 540, 541, 542, 543, 544, 548, 550, 552, 561, 562 y 570.