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> Travelling by bus in Ecuador, Accidents
vero1
post May 2 2008, 08:46 PM
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Hi there,

We decided not to publish anything on our blog as our parents will get too worried, but wanted to warn other travellers in Ecuador: Do not use the bus company "Patria".
We lived through a terrible accident on our way from Cuenca to Alausi, and thank god are okay, apart from a traumatic neck injury and a few bruises and scratches.
The bus was driving too fast in rain , fog and on muddy roads and missed a curve and went straight down a hill before it tipped over.
We had to give first aid to passengers as we were the only ones with first aid kits (tip: have them in your day pack, we idiots had to get them out of the buried rucksacks..), the driver just ran away, the passengers were put on another bus, bleeding as they were, and we were left behind, giving help to a severly injured guy.
Needless to say, no compensation nor apology from the compamy, even though they promise on their ticket.
We did one thing: Wrote to Ecadorian newspapers, and "El Commercio" published it, accusing the company of their failures.
This is so common in Ecuador, they roads are terrible, the drivers drive too fast, and no rescue service etc in place.
Hospital service was great though, they really looked after us well, after a private car had taken us there.

We are hoping that by publishing it, bus companies take more responsibilities, and take us seriously, when we ask them not too speed. Only if tourists speak up, they have the power to change something. Local people seem to take it for granted that you might or not get killed on their roads.
As Ecuador is trying hard to push tourism, they might change their behaviour if more epople (tourists) complain.

You might find me naive, but I do not wish anyone to live through this traumatic experience (or even worse, die in it)

All the best to those out there having to use Ecuadorian buses, and DO tell them to slow down if you feel like it!

Vero and Marcos
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mmbcross
post May 3 2008, 03:30 PM
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I hate to be negative, but this is a problem throughout South America (and I suspect anywhere in less developed countries) since the internal combustion engine was invented. There is little tourists can do. Only locals could change this by not riding bus lines with bad reputations. Regrettably this policy doesn't seem to have occurred to them yet. Meanwhile any visitor is at risk by using public transport in these countries, so other than staying at home, you had better be aware that this could happen at any time and any place during your travels.


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veromarcos
post May 4 2008, 06:48 PM
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I disagree with this comment. South America is very varied in public transport. We could classify:

Very Safe against Accidents:
- Chile
- Argentina
- Uruguay

Relatively Safe:
- Paraguay
- Bolivia
- Peru

High chances of Accidents (and statistics that prove them):
- Ecuador

Of course, accidents happen everywhere. But Ecuador is top ranking and even locals protest about it.

Transport in Chile and Argentina beats the hell out of most "First world" countries. They follow rules and safety measures...especially in Chile.
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mmbcross
post May 4 2008, 11:40 PM
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Veromarcos is in all probability correct in regard to luxury bus service.

Nevertheless it's another story with so called "chicken buses". On the other hand, it could be that Chile and Argentina don't have "chicken buses".

Here's an extract of an article from Canadian Globe and Mail:
Peru is arguably the most notorious among Andean nations for the stunning regularity of accidents involving passenger buses that plunge off winding roads, or crash head-on while passing other vehicles on blind mountain curves.

Over all, 557 people were killed and 2,581 others injured in "inter-provincial" bus accidents from July, 2004, to June, 2005, according to Peru's Centre for Investigation of Overland Transport. Experts say a major cause of the high number of accidents is the recklessness of the drivers.

Colombia in fact comes in second, and Ecuador third (but keep in mind Ecuador is a much smaller country).

Here's thew whole article:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/Art...BUS08/TPTravel/


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vero1
post May 6 2008, 04:51 PM
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Hi,

Thanks for the article, sounds right, and indeed Ecuador is the smallest country in SA.

By the way, we wrote an article on our little story for a big Ecuadorian newspaper, and they did publish it, a second one is planning a feature on it.
So, tourists DO have a voice and Ecuadorians ARE interested in them being save, as it reflects and their own safety - and profit! For the campesinos on our bus it was probalbly out of the question to complain to the bus company for some compensation, now at least this company appered in a national newspaper as behaving totally reckless.
Furtheron, no day passes with features on TV and newspaper about the lack of safety on roads etc in Ecuador.
Sadly, as we bring more money to the country, they rather listen to us then their own people, but then, even more, we should use it.
In my opinion, if you travel a country, you have your rights and responsibilities, and making public a behaviour like this is part of this responsibility.
Nothing to do if you ride a chicken bus or luxury bus or whatever.

Vero

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mmbcross
post May 7 2008, 10:48 AM
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Hear! Hear! Good for you Vero.

Yes indeed we have a voice, and we should use it to help the communities we travel through. A hurricane of voices can change the world.


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