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New Integrated Single Bus Pass System

In the second round of questions from the deputies to the Regional Government in the monthly debate, themed ‘Land Accessibility,’ the opposition asked the Regional Secretaries of Economy and Equipment and Infrastructure, about public transport and tunnel safety in Madeira.

Rui Barreto said that in the new transport model, based on the international public tender for intercity transport, most of the intercity buses will be renewed. In response to Vitor Freitas, of the PS, he assured him that of the 138 buses that serve the west and north zones, 129 will be renewed, which represents 95% of the fleet. Rui Barreto also reminded everyone that the new single pass, which will soon be implemented, can be used throughout the Region and Porto Santo.

Furthermore, he added, the single pass could also be used on the different public transport of the continent. He also spoke of the savings that the change in prices in public transport passes represents, giving the example of transport between Santana and Funchal, in which travellers would have paid a monthly charge of 123 euros in 2019. However, now with the price reductions implemented over the last three years, a person residing in Santana and working in Funchal will have saved approximately four thousand euros on travelling expenses.

Pedro Fino, in turn, pointed out the investment of connectivity supported in the tunnels, with 5G, which will allow improvement in relief operations. “It can be seen as a step towards a more connected system that could contribute to the reduction of accidents. We look very seriously at the issue of security,” said Pedro Fino.

That said, the JPP expressed their concerns regarding the “resounding” increase in pollution in the tunnels, especially the levels of particular matter concentration.

Rafael Nunes recalled the “successive warnings left by the JPP, but stated that the road system continued to operate with no coherent safety plan that integrates, for example, the European directives for tunnels in RAM.

The JPP has presented a diploma to guarantee the minimum safety levels in the tunnels in the RAM, with scientific data. “We did what the government should have done … we called for an independent analysis of the pollution levels of some tunnels in the Region, by a recognised and certified entity!

Already at the time, the values collected indicated concentrations of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter above the legal limit values considered for the protection of human health. The suspended particles recorded values of 4 times the legal limit. Four times! Challenged Rafael Nunes.

For nitrogen dioxide values, the maximum value exceeded the hourly limit value by 8 times. However, after the data was presented, “no action has been taken and many of the tunnels remain without functional exhaust extractors.”

Replying to this, Pedro Fino assured the JPP deputy that the regional tunnels comply with European requirements in this matter and respect the emergency parameters. He also said that verification exercises are carried out frequently.

Samantha Gannon

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