Driving With “Full Occupancy” Does Not Violate San Jose’s Vehicular Restriction

According to the Decree No. 37,370 of the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes (MOPT) – Ministry of Public Works and Transportation – of October 26, 2012, a driver traveling with full occupancy, during restricted hours, in San Jose cannot be sanctioned for violation of the vehicular restriction.

That is, a driver behind the wheel of a vehicle restricted from transiting San Jose city on its day, Monday to Friday, between 6:00 ama nd 7:00 pm, will not be issued a traffic ticket if the vehicle has full occupancy.

Full occupancy, as defined by the MOPT on its website, is a vehicle say with a capacity of 5 (based on the Marchamo or circulation permit), there must be the driver and four passengers to be exempt from the fine.

A vehicle, say an SUV with a capacity of 7 or a minivan with a capacity of say 8 or 10 more, full occupancy then would be the driver and at least four passengers. A pick up, for example, with two passengers would be considered ‘full occupancy’.

However, this measure is little known by many drivers, despite the years the measure is in place.

The vehicular restriction applies on Mondays to vehicles with license plates ending 1 and 2; Tuesdays 3 and 4; Wednesdays 5 and 6; Thursdays 7 and 8; and Fridays 9 and 0.

Circulating on the ‘restricted‘ day if a driver travels alone or less than full the five is ¢¢22,187 colones plus costs.

Another little-known fact by many drivers is that rented vehicles or ‘rent a car’ as specified in the Decree – are not subject to the restrictions. A driver behind the wheel of a rented vehicle only has to show the traffic official (transito) the rental contract. A proviso here is, the driver must be named on the rental contract.

Also exempt from the vehicular restrictions are public transport vehicles such as taxis and buses, special transport vehicles authorized by the Consejo de Transporte Público for the transport of workers or students, vehicles operated by a disabled person (with proper sticker), emergency vehicles, motorcycles or scooters and cement truck while carrying a fresh load.

Yet another fact that is not known much is the possibility to change the restricted day in the event there are two vehicles in the same household that are restricted on the same day. In that case, the rules allow for an application to the Viceministro de Transporte Terrestre y Seguridad Vial for a request to transfer the restriction to one of the vehicles to the following day.