By Mario Conde
The Calexico City Council met in special session last Monday to determine the future of the bus system in Calexico.
The Council decided after a long special session that they will give Calexico Transit System until October 16 to comply with all the requirements or the company will have revocation of their permit. Calexico Transit System that has been in operation in Calexico for many years and owned by the Castro family for more than 50 years. The company is now run by Councilman Luis Castro’s son, Jovan Castro. The police department ordered a suspension of operation since the company was not in compliance and did not have insurance since December 2011.
The Calexico Police Department recently conducted an inspection of the documents on file for the Calexico Transit System. Concerned about Calexico Transit System operating without valid insurance, Police Department officials contacted Jovan Castro on September 14, 2012. Jovan Castro then confirmed to police officials that the company lacked the insurance required under Calexico’s Municipal Code. The Police Department informed Calexico Transit System that if it continued operating without insurance, its drivers would receive citations for driving without valid insurance. On September 18, the Department also sent a letter notifying Jovan Castro that his company was in violation of the Calexico Municipal Code’s safety and licensing requirements and ordering him to cease operations.
Calexico Police Chief Neujahr reported that since receiving notice of this hearing, Calexico Transit System has submitted proposed insurance which has thus far been inadequate. In the first instance, it submitted an insurance certificate for $1 million in the name of Imperial Rapid Service. This was rejected for several reasons. First, it was for a lesser amount of insurance than Calexico Transit System had before its insurance expired, and much less than the minimum required by state law. Second, Imperial Rapid Service, Inc. is a suspended corporation, so the insurance contract with it would likely be unenforceable if someone were to be injured during a collision with one of their buses. Third, Calexico Transit System did not submit the actual policy for review, so the City could not determine whether or not the policy provided proper insurance coverage.
In the end, the Council voted 3-1 to give Jovan Castro 10 days to be in compliance with Mayor Pro Tem Maritza Hurtado voting against it. Before the closing of the meeting, Mayor Daniel Romero said that this was not political against Luis Castro but a protection to all the use the transportation service in Calexico.