Foreign companies line up for vehicle inspection contract

QCOSTARICA – Spanish, Portuguese, Panamanian and Mexican companies are lining up to obtain the vehicle technical inspection service contract, according to the minister of the Ministerio de Obras Publicas y Transportes (MOPT), Luis Amador.

The minister said the companies are waiting to hear what the government will do with the vehicle inspection service, when the Riteve contract expires at 4:00 p.m., July 15 (2022), and with no clear indication yet from the government to what is to come.

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“There are solutions, but which is the most feasible? At the moment we are analyzing different scenarios, ranging from an extension with Riteve to the search for other operators. We already have interest from four companies,” said Amador, who added that he recommended those interested get accredited in the country as soon as possible.

The need to find a new operator is due to the fact that MOPT and Riteve disagree on the process of donating stations and equipment, as stipulated in the contract. The Riteve has publicly agreed that it will do so, as agreed, on July 15. MOPT, however, wants the donation agreement signed before sitting down with the company to negotiate an extension.

Whatever happens, it is expected that vehicle inspection rates will drop, since as of July 15 no more capital expenditure should be amortized.

Currently, the inspection cost for a light car is 16,000¢ (14,585¢ + 1.896¢ IVA). Re-inspection (must occur within 30 days of initial inspection) is 8,240¢ including VAT. Motorcycles pay 10,859¢, trucks and buses 21,707¢, taxis 17,780¢. Rates vary for other vehicle types. See the full list here.

Current regulations require vehicles less than 5 years old to be inspected every two years; from 5 years old, all year round. Public transport vehicles must be inspected every 6 months. Age is based on the year of manufacture, which is not necessarily the model year.

“The price has to come down because the capital expenditure no longer has to be amortized. The overhaul should be less expensive since the new operator only has to maintain the equipment and provide the service. The cost has to come down as God commands and for that we need them to sign the delivery and make that donation,” Amador added.

A serious problem, a complicated solution

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On July 15, the contract with the Spanish company Riteve expires and Costa Rica could find itself without the vehicle technical control service.

The MOPT analyzes several options with their pros and cons:

Extend contract with Riteve

Pro

  • Bidding can be done without pressure to choose a bidder immediately. The quality standard is maintained for the whole country
  • Coordination with OIJ to prevent vehicle theft

Versus

  • The private monopoly remains
  • Potentially high rates

The State pays for the technical inspection of vehicles

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Pro

  • The cost of the tariff does not include the machinery which has already been paid to the dealer
    Facilities already ready across the country

Versus

  • Potential long queues (as with other public services)
  • Public employees with high salaries
  • Selling appointments on the illegal market (as is the case with driving licenses)

Allow private workshops or create cooperatives

Pro

  • Empowers Small and Medium Enterprises (PYME in Spanish)
  • Generate employment

Versus

  • Facilities and machinery would be lost
  • Dissimilar quality standards
  • Risk that workshops accept bribes to validate vehicles

Delete requirement

Pro

  • One less bureaucratic requirement
  • Savings for millions of drivers

Versus

  • Risk of accident due to the circulation of dangerous vehicles
  • Pollution because there would be no emission control
  • Increase of car cloning (vehicle impersonation as it is also called) and vehicle theft

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