Licence Plate Restrictions in Bogotá

Find out about the restrictions in place when driving in Bogotá...

Due to traffic congestion and the number of cars in the city, Bogotá (and a few other large cities in Colombia) have established some restrictions known as Pico y placa, which relates to the peak hours of traffic and the license plate of the car.

The way the restriction is applied is continually changing. As of 2014, the regulations in place restrict cars with an even number (0, 2, 4, 6, 8) at the end of their license plate from driving during rush hours on the even-numbered days of the month. Vehicles with odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) at the end of the license plate are restricted from driving on odd-numbered days.

Restriction Hours

Restriction hours apply from Monday to Friday (holidays excluded) and are as follows:

  • 06:00-08:30 and 15:00-19:30
  • 06:00-19:30 continuously in the city centre

Restricted Areas

South of the city:

The southern area of the city is free from restriction permanently. The limits to this area are as follows:

  • Transversal 3B Este, from the eastern mountains up to the Avenida Primero de Mayo
  • Avenida Primero de Mayo between Carrera 3 and Avenida Caracas
  • Avenida Caracas from Avenida Primero de Mayo up to Avenida Villavicencio
  • Avenida Villavicencio between Avenida Caracas and Autopista Sur
  • Autopista Sur from Avenida Villavicencio up to the city limits

These five areas make up the borders of the restricted area; parts of the city south of these borders are restriction free.

North of the city:

The northern area of the city is also free from restrictions. The boundaries to this area are as follows.

  • Calle 201 between Carrrera 7 and Autopista Norte
  • Autopista Norte between Calle 201 and Calle 170
  • Calle 170 from Autopista Norte until Via Cota Suba
  • Via Cota Suba between Calle 169B and the city limit with the municipality of Cota

City Centre:

The city centre is subject to special regulations as the restrictions apply continuously throughout the day, and not in two time frames. The limits of this area are:

  • Avenida Los Comuneros between Carrera 3 Este and Carrera 24
  • Carrera 24 between Avenida Los Comuneros and Calle 13
  • Calle 13 between carreras 24 and 25
  • Carrera 25 between Calle 13 and Calle 17A
  • Calle 17A between Carrera 25 and Carrera 27
  • Carrera 27 between Calle 17A and Calle 22
  • Transversal 28 between Calles 22 and 22C
  • Carrera 27 between Calle 22C and Calle 26
  • Calle 26 between Carrera 27 and Avenida Circunvala
  • Avenida Circunvalar from Calle 26 to Calle 7
  • Carrera 3 Este and Avenida los Comuneros

Fines

Driving while the restriction applies incurs a fine equivalent to 15 daily minimum wages. Furthermore, the car may be immobilised and impounded resulting in even more expense for the owner.

Exceptions

On special occasions such as transport strikes, around specific holidays and Christmas the restriction may be lifted and announced in the media. The following are also exempt:

  • People with disabilities: Vehicles which are driven or used to transport permanently disabled individuals are exempt from these restrictions, provided they have the appropriate registration with the Health Authority and the Transit Authority
  • Car pool: Cars may drive during the restriction times in the city centre as long as they have at least three passengers, staying within the number permitted for the vehicle type
  • Diplomatic vehicles: Diplomatic vehicles with diplomatic licence plates
  • Armoured vehicles: Vehicles with a level 3 armour protection, as long as they have the appropriate permits for the armour, and any accompanying security vehicles for bodyguards or decoy vehicles
  • Motorcycles
  • Official vehicles: Vehicles transporting employees of the judicial system (judges, District Attorneys), armed forces (DAS, CTI), official repair vehicles, emergency vehicles (ambulances, fire engines) and traffic control vehicles (tow trucks, mechanical assistance vehicles)
  • Professional vehicles: Vehicles belonging to specific professions such as media and press vehicles, school and tourism transfer vehicles, perishable goods transport, surveillance and personal security vehicles, and funeral vehicles

Further information and updates are available from the Bogotá Government website and from the local Transit Authority (websites in Spanish).

No Car Day

Since the year 2000, when it was voted by a referendum, Bogotá has had an annual car-free day. This day was important to raise awareness of mobility issues in the city, and make Bogotanos use public transport or take to the streets with their bicycles.

As of 2014 this initiative has been extended to a car-free week.