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Minister tables Alesa bus contract, alleges public transport sabotage

Transport minister claims bus drivers being instructed not to pick up passengers, finally publishes Autobuses de Leon contract but only brings one copy to Parliament, hence leaving the media without a copy

tim_diacono
Tim Diacono
17 February 2016, 10:01pm
Transport minister Joe Mizzi
Transport minister Joe Mizzi
Transport minister Joe Mizzi claimed that a “group of people” had recently attempted to sabotage the public transport system, by telling drivers on duty to falsely claim that their buses were not in service.

“Some bus drivers were driving buses with signs falsely saying they were not in service, when they were supposed to be picking up passengers,” he said during his parliamentary adjournment. “We took the necessary action against these people, but we still don’t know who was behind this, although I have my suspicions.”

As promised during an interview with MaltaToday, Mizzi published the contract that was signed between government and Spanish-owned company Autobuses de Leon in December 2014. However, in a fresh twist to the long-running saga, he only brought one copy of the contract to the House and failed to release one electronically, leaving the media without a copy.

“I had initially wanted to publish the contract immediately, but circumstances changed and I decided to publish it once the public started realizing that the public transport was on the right track,” he said.

During his heated adjournment speech, punctuated with frequent points of orders by shadow transport minister Marthese Portelli, Mizzi accused the Opposition of sowing doubt about the public transport, arguing that they “have no intention of seeing the service improved”.

He accused the PN of lying by claiming that he had a conflict of interest when he travelled to Spain to negotiate with Autobuses, by warning that bus drivers will lose their jobs, by accusing MPT of manipulating bus drivers’ rosters, and by claiming that government is subsidizing fuel for MPT.              

“The Opposition doesn’t accept the truth, and has spread so many lies about the public transport service,” he said. “It is in everyone’s best interest to have a proper public transport service.”

He noted that the Opposition had called for a return to the previous routes that were in service until 20 December last year, and not for the routes originally introduced under Arriva

“This means that the routes in service by 20 December were better than Arriva’s, and indeed they will continue improving,” he said.

He announced that routes will be updated on 6 Marc, including adjustment to the X1 and X2 route and the removal of St. Luke’s Hospital as a destination for several buses from the south of Malta.

On 17 April, the routes 22 and 32 that had originally passed from San Gwann to Valletta will be reintroduced, and routes X3, 23, 2, and 4 will be adjusted.

 

tim_diacono
Tim Diacono is a journalist at MaltaToday
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