During the early stages of the modernization of Panama mass transportation system, the design, construction and maintenance of the bus stop structures was paid first priority. The Transportation Department (Autoridad de Tránsito Transporte Terrestre) wanted small, but modern and comfortable structures to serve the bus passengers.
The then Mayor of Panama City, Juan Carlos Navarro, signed a convenient agreement with Urban Equipment Company of Panama, SA (EUPAN) to build 800 bus stop structures, 3,450 garbage containers, 600 street light adjacent to the bus stop buildings, 25 sun clocks, 500 peddlers’ accommodations, and 750 bus stop benches. Design, construction and maintenance of all these assets were for the account of the EUPAN. They would be responsible for paying the bills.
Maintenance and repair charges have been rather steep. For example, during one year, EUPAN had to disburse approximately $450,000 due to acts of vandalism. Graffiti, broken glass, burned garbage containers, and damaged ad frames were some of the damages made to the bus stop stations in the urban area of the city, mainly caused by students’ protests and riots.
These considerable expenses were outset by revenue produced by the sale of signs and ads by EUPAN, which is the only entity authorized to contract the placement of ads in this bus stop areas. We all know how lucrative the publicity market is. A clear example is Google’s impressive growth in this industry. It was a convenient deal to both the Municipality of Panama and EUPAN. City Hall got its modern structures free of charge and EUPAN was able to organize a formidable cash cow, collecting considerable amounts of money by selling ads to businesses in Panama City. It was a win-win situation for both parties.
It’s most likely that a similar deal will be worked out for the subway stations when they are finished in 2014. EUPAN is certainly interested in submitting an attractive bid to further expand its commercial activities in Panama.
Below is a picture of the bus stop structure built by EUPAN. They have been strategically located within Panama City, and of course at the Cinta Costera. Here we go.