Pico y Placa in Quito
August 17, 2012
“I can’t drive tomorrow,” said an independent taxi driver in Quito, Ecuador.
“Why not?” I asked.
“Pico y placa.”
“Traffic’s pretty bad.”
“Without pico y placa, it would be much worse.”
“What’s the program?”
“One day a week most people can’t drive. Public taxi drivers are an exception. It’s based on the last number of your license. One and two can’t drive on Monday, three and four on Tuesday, five and six on Wednesday, seven and eight on Thursday, and nine and zero on Friday.”
“The whole day?”
“No, just from seven to nine-thirty in the morning and four to seven-thirty in the afternoon.”
“What happens if the police catch you?”
He pointed at a billboard and said, “The multa (fine) is ninety-seven dollars the first time and a hundred forty-six the second. The third time it’s two hundred ninety-two dollars, and they impound your car five days.”
“Probably not many people do it a third time.”
“No one I know,” he said.