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Daily News - 28 January 1998

New bus route beats expectations
The main thing that went wrong with the new 27 de Febrero Avenue bus lane was that it was too successful. There were too many clients, as Dominicans enthusiastically showed up to use the new buses. The director of the new Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET) transit reorganization plan for Santo Domingo, engineer Hamlet Hermann, promised 22 more buses today, bringing the number of buses on the route to 96. Dominicans tried out the bus lane for free on the 26 January holiday, and then on Tuesday, 27 January, queued along the avenue to pick up a bus. The new buses charge RD$3.00 for the 22 kilometer route that extends from Los Tres Ojos on the Avenida de las Americas on the eastern end of the city to the Cruce de Manoguayabo on the west end of the 27 de Febrero Avenue. The buses depart every three minutes from 6 am to 10 pm. There are 98 bus stops along the route, within distances of about 300 meters. Fares are collected from riders inside the bus. The buses have a capacity for 45 persons, seated, and 15, standing.
For those driving vehicles, it was also a day to celebrate. The absence of the fleets of "conchos", or multiple fare-paying passenger taxis, made driving along the new expressway of Santo Domingo a pleasure. The new transit police firmly but courteously urged those violating regulations regarding the use of the 27 de Febrero expressway to comply with the new ordinance that establishes the bus lane is off limits to taxis, mini-buses and unauthorized buses. General Bienvenido Manzueta, police chief of the central command of the city of Santo Domingo, reinforced the transit police efforts.

Tricom points at politicians
Tricom denied allegations of Attorney General Abel Rodríguez del Orbe (see yesterday's news story) that the telecommunications company was behind the pressures for the accelerated passing of the telecommunications bill. Tricom said that political interests were responsible.

RD$200 million a year for bottled water
A news story in the Listín Diario indicates that Dominican families spend over RD$200 million a year to purchase bottled water. The purchases are made due to the concerns over the quality of the potable water served by the aqueduct. In an interview, engineer Roberto Castillo Tió pointed out that the government has not completed the installation of an adequate water system that would bring the water available from the Valdesia Dam site to Santo Domingo.

President says re-election is not on his agenda
President Leonel Fernández said in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, that the topic of re-election is not on his personal agenda. President Fernández has been accused of campaigning. The statesman said that re-election is unconstitutional and that he is only concentrating on completing his plan to lead the development of the nation. President Fernández returned last night from his visit to Tegucigalpa for the inaugural of President Carlos Flores.

Who will be the PRSC candidates?
The Partido Reformista Social Cristiano announced that Guillermo Sued will be the party's candidate for mayor in Santiago, the country's second largest city. Engineer Angel Acosta will be the party's candidate for senator. In La Romana, Frank Martínez was re-elected candidate for senator and Miguel Enrique Seijas will run for mayor on the PRSC ticket. The Partido Reformista Social Cristiano has held primaries in 18 provinces of the country since February 17, but the political organization of Dr. Joaquín Balaguer has been slow in releasing the names of the winners. As occurred in the case of the other leading political parties, there have been complaints of irregularities. The PRSC primaries are the responsibility of Donald Reid Cabral, Jacinto Peynado, Carlos Morales Troncoso, Johnny Jones and Federico Antún Batlle. The parties have until February 16 to announce their alliances and until March 16 to announce their candidates for the municipal and congressional elections set for May 16, 1998.

News on the Puerto Rico-D.R. ferry
The ferry between Santo Domingo and Mayaguez is almost ready for operation, according to a news report in El Nuevo Día, the Puerto Rican newspaper. The newspaper indicates that computers with data on stolen vehicles are being installed at the port of Mayaguez this week. The ferry will be run by the Corporación Ferries del Caribe. The newspaper says the fare will be US$80 roundtrip, almost its cost about 10 years ago. For those traveling with a vehicle, the trip will cost US$180 per person roundtrip. There is an additional charge for insurance that will vary whether the vehicle departs from Santo Domingo or from Mayaguez. The ferry will travel five days a week and is expected to leave at 9 pm from Mayaguez, to arrive at 7 am in Santo Domingo. Puerto Rican hoteliers are hopeful that hundreds of European tourists will take the ferry to visit the west coast of Puerto Rico. The ferry is favored by Dominican tourism authorities for the thousands of Puerto Rican tourists that it will bring to Santo Domingo.

League still against Puerto Plata team
Leonard Matos Berrido, president of the Dominican Winter Baseball League, said that the Delfines del Atlántico, the professional baseball team of Puerto Plata, will not be allowed to play in that professional league next year either. Matos said, "We will not commit suicide." The Puerto Plata Dolphins aspire to compete in the winter baseball league, but the organizers of the baseball tournament are concerned with the weather in Puerto Plata that could force postponements of games due to rain. Ironically, the rain would not have been a problem if the team had been allowed to play in the 1997-98 championship, as the El Niño weather phenomenon has brought a consistently sunny winter to the North Coast of the Dominican Republic. Matos said that the league's playing calendar for 1998-99 season is already established and the Dolphins are not on it. The league is presently made up by the Aguilas Cibaeñas, the Tigres del Licey, the Estrellas Orientales, the Leones del Escogido, the Azucareros del Este and the Gigantes del Nordeste. Congress authorized by law the Puerto Plata baseball franchise, but the organizer's of the baseball championship have refused to incorporate the team into the league. The baseball stadiums used by the government are for the most part government owned.

Aguilas may win championship
The Aguilas defeated the Licey Tigers 7-2 in their home stadium and are now only one game away from winning the 1997-98 pennant. Manager Tony Peña of the Aguilas used six pitchers in the fourth game of the series. The series is now 3-1 in favor of the Aguilas. The fifth game will be played in Santo Domingo. If the Aguilas win, they will repeat as the Dominican Winter Baseball League champions. The Aguilas are also the Caribbean Series champions.

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