More than symbolic was the fact that the first thing that José Antonio Serrano – accompanied by Diego Conesa – met on his arrival at Murcia City Hall, in the morning at the motion of censure, was a protest by the Latbus workers. There he made a promise to them that he would provide a solution to the critical situation that public transport is going through in the municipality and, in particular, mobility with the districts. Less than a month after that brief conversation, users and employees of the concessionaires have begun to urge the new government team to act to correct this problem or, at least, to begin to position itself on the steps to take.
This wake-up call, equivalent to a ‘do not forget us’, comes from the hand of a protest called for next Sunday by the Platform in Defense of Public Transport of the Region, created just a few months ago and which includes various social organizations , including workers in the sector, neighborhood and citizen associations, students and unions, among others. The call includes a march on foot that will start from three points at around 10 am – the Plaza del Charco, in La Alberca and Santo Ángel; the church square in Los Garres; and from new schools in El Palmar – to join in the Costera Sur.
The demonstration, “which will comply with all anti-Covid measures,” according to its organizers, has as slogans “for sustainable mobility and quality public transport for the entire municipality”, and advocates “the recovery of hourly frequencies” , in general and due to the increase in expeditions “on Saturdays and Sundays.”
The protest also wants to show its support for the workers of Latbus, the concessionary company of the bus service in the metropolitan area of Murcia, including the districts of the municipality. The president of his Latbus Works Council, Francisco Tomás Muñoz, recalls that the workforce is in an ERTE of 70% of the day. It also explains that the company’s services during weekdays are between 50% and 60%, depending on the line, with respect to the conditions existing before the pandemic. The situation becomes even more complicated when, on most routes, expeditions are limited to a few in the morning on Saturdays – around 80% less compared to the previous situation, and they are even non-existent or testimonial on Sundays. “And all this without counting that the frequencies of passage are not regular, so it is very difficult to know when your expedition passes,” he adds. And all this without forgetting that capacity restrictions often leave passengers on the ground.
Know the plans
“We are in an extreme situation; The PSOE has supported us from the opposition, but now that it is in the government we want to know what plans it has to turn this around, ”explains Antonio Rubio, one of the spokespersons for the convening platform. “As we have been denouncing, it is not normal that the existing concession is not respected and even less appealing, as does the Ministry of Development to economic criteria, since the important thing is to serve the citizens,” adds Rubio.
Aware that the main problem lies in the concession managed by the Community – improperly, according to the Ministry recalls -, Rubio asks that the Consistory assume the lines of districts as soon as possible, which is something that must be done in December, or that agree to improve frequencies with Fomento. However, he shows his understanding with an executive like the local, just landed.
The Consistory announces a meeting to collect your suggestions
From the government team of the City Council they indicated that they will work “so that public transport in the municipality is useful, efficient and backbone, our main objective being to improve the frequencies and coverage of the buses that connect the districts with the urban area.” “In the coming days we will convene a meeting with representatives of the Platform in Defense of Public Transport in order to collect their suggestions and needs to achieve the new mobility model that is born from consensus and with the participation of all those affected” municipal sources added.
In turn, they condemned the fact of having “learned from the press about the single voucher and the new transport model.” “We hope that this is not the dynamic of the regional Executive with this Consistory because, above all, there is the improvement of public transport in the municipality,” they concluded.
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