Responding to images of over crowded buses, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Horários do Funchal, Alejandro Gonçalves, re-emphasised that everything is under control and there is no reason for alarmism as the company is complying with the rules issued by the transport and health authorities. The company’s CEO reiterated that, although the images illustrate a significant cluster, the mandatory use of a mask and the provision of bottles of alcohol gel at the entrance of all buses are sufficient to prevent an “eventual” spread of the disease. As he confided to the JM, and – to paraphrase the Minister of the Environment, “the danger of contagion in public transport is minimal, because the buses are all disinfected.”
The subject was brought to public notice by Geographer Raimundo Quintal, who sent local newspaper, JM images suggestive that the bus company was placing its customers at risk with regards to social distancing on its urban and inter urban routes.
Urged to comment on the images which call into question the new social distancing rules, Alejandro Gonçalves said: “If the two-metre distance rule is to be applied to our long distance buses which have a maximum capacity of 66 seats, only six people could go on that bus. There are no social distancing rules on public transport and the width of a bus is 2.5 meters.”
He went on to say that on busy routes, where passengers have been refused entry due to potential overcrowding, the driver can request back up transport to pick up passengers denied entry, something that has not yet happened. Concluding, he said currently, we are at 64% in terms of average occupancy, even with the start of classes, adding that a coach capable of 100 seats, only carries 64 passengers.
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