Shutdown called indefinitely. Tender for the concession of transport in Greater Porto again suspended.
Difficult days are expected in the transport of Greater Porto. The unions presented strike notice for weekends and holidays (all day) and for working days (for the last two hours of service).
STCP admits that, as no minimum services have been determined, there may be constraints on the operation. In addition, the public road concession tender in the Porto Metropolitan Area is suspended for 30 days due to the challenge presented by one of the competitors.
The president of the Metropolitan Area of Porto (AMP), Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues, explained that this challenge, presented on the last day [anteontem], “is under consideration by the jury” of the contest, whose decision is expected to be known by the end of next week.
While this procedure, already considered as a “key point” to improve mobility in the region, is delayed again, displacements become a problem aggravated by the strike of STCP workers. Jorge Costa, president of the National Union of Drivers, clarifies that it will be up to each worker to decide the time they will work. This is because, he explains, drivers work between “nine to ten hours a day”, creating difficulties in reconciling family and professional life.
Even so, explains the unionist, the objective is not to remove buses from the street, but “to draw the company’s attention to the exaggerated schedules that workers are complying with”. Now, not wanting to make the service “disappear”, “there may always be constraints”, whose evaluation is only possible “a day or two later”.
right to strike
The lack of STCP operation will not result in “compensation” by private operators. Especially because it “violates the right to strike”, stresses Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues.
As for the reinforcement announced for this month by the private companies, the leader of the AMP says that new proposals were presented to the operators to put more buses on the street.
For this reason, the tender for the new transport concession at AMP, which will create a unique brand for the region, establishes a network, already created in conjunction with the municipalities, which determines where buses should pass and how often. This program also establishes which periods of the day the vehicles must pass “every ten minutes or half an hour”.
There were several candidates – “national and international companies” – to present their proposals, but which are not yet known due to the challenge presented by one of them, clarifies Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues.
“The remuneration will be based on the kilometers traveled by the buses”, he says, adding that “there is no base value” for the competition, but a target of 1.7 euros per kilometer. The winner of the contest, which will have the concession for seven years, will be subjected to quality control through GPS monitoring.
“How was I going to work? I can’t stay at home all my life!”, Shoots Maria das Dores Oliveira, leaving the bus. Now, it is the Junta de Freguesia de Guilhabreu that, every day, takes her to Castêlo da Maia. The buses stopped there on March 20.
More than three months later, only the Póvoa-Trofa connection was resumed, connecting Vila do Conde to Póvoa and the parishes of Azurara and Macieira. Besides, in the two municipalities and their 28 parishes, nothing else. The Porto Metropolitan Area had announced “normality” for July 1. Did not arrive.
Maria das Dores takes care of two elderly people. From Guilhabreu to Castêlo da Maia “it’s an hour on foot”, more than five kilometers. I had to do them. To and fro.
On May 15, tired of battling with the operator (Arriva) and the Chamber because of the lack of transport, the President of the Board, Joaquim Moreira, decided to put the Junta’s bus at the service of the population.
Now, Almerindo Saavedra takes everyone, as long as he makes an appointment at the Board: “Some go to physiotherapy or the doctor, others go to work, others go to finance or Social Security”, explains the driver, who until yesterday still transported daily eight preschool children. Leaves at 8 o’clock. Go to Castêlo da Maia. Then to the center of Vila do Conde. Returns at noon.
“Nobody pays us anything, neither diesel, nor car wear, nor a driver, but we couldn’t leave people without transportation,” shoots Joaquim Moreira.
Since March 20, the 20 parishes of Vila do Conde have been disconnected from the city. In Póvoa, the scenario was repeated in its six. The two neighboring counties were still not connected. Alleging lack of passengers with the end of the school, the four operators – Arriva, Transdev, AV Minho and Litoral Norte – stopped providing services.
With the start of face-to-face classes for students from the 11th and 12th years, on May 18th, the two municipalities provided transportation, but only for the students. Those who work are back on land. On June 20, Arriva resumed its connection to Trofa. Azurara and Macieira won buses, but are, for now, the only ones.