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  • ESG Bus Service Feedback

    ESG Press Release August 22nd 2011

    In response to the Government’s request for feedback on the free bus service and the new routes, the ESG would like to make the following points:-

    To begin with, as it has stated in previous press releases on the matter, the ESG congratulates the Gibraltar Government on having introduced free public transport for all but one route. It considers this to be a progressive initiative which should undoubtedly have a very positive, long term impact on reducing the increasingly heavy traffic in Gibraltar and subsequent pollution.
    Nonetheless, it is obvious to all those who use public transport that the present system has to be tweaked in a number of ways if it is to be efficient.

    1. One of the complaints made by numerous members of the public is that there are not enough buses and that, as a result, there has been a serious disruption to the timetables since the new routes were introduced. Clearly, we would recommend an increase in the number of buses for the new system to be effective.

    2. In fact some of the new routes have themselves proved to be highly unpopular with many, particularly the removal of the No3 bus route, from the frontier to the lighthouse. This was a route used by hundreds, if not thousands, of Gibraltarians and frontier workers. The buses were punctual and got people to their destination quickly. The present system, whereby all buses have to go to the market place, is cumbersome, inefficient and counter-productive. A passenger who has to get a first bus to the Market Square and then get on a second bus could easily take anything between 45mins and 60mins to complete a trip which in the past would have taken 10 or 15 minutes. It should not be necessary to take two buses to get to any destination in a place as small as Gibraltar. Therefore we would recommend the re-activation of the No3 route or some similar, direct route.

    3. Steps should also be taken to ensure pensioners can enjoy the complete free bus service in place before the new system was introduced.

    4. Also, we need to ensure that free, but community-financed, public transport is not used to make profit for an outsider party (cut out the opportunistic tour operator) with new legislation if necessary.

    5. Finally, the system as it stands, and perhaps because of the complicated arrangement that exists with regards to the other bus company, unfairly discriminates against the frontier worker. Whereas the remainder of the routing is free, the very popular and very necessary route from frontier to town is now more expensive than before. This anomaly should be addressed as necessary so that the discrimination is removed. This will further reduce the number of vehicles entering our road system.

    Inevitably, any new system was bound to have teething problems and the GoG rightly said there would be a trial period before definite decisions were made. Now is the time to redress these problems, preferably before school starts again.

    We further hope that, with the finishing of the full-sized Devil’s Tower car park, a Park-and-Drive shuttle system will be employed to encourage foreign visitors to leave their vehicles out of town and ride the free bus to their destination.

    The ESG hopes that the GoG takes on board the best recommendations made by the general public, and their own advisers, to enhance this very good initiative. It certainly should not retract on the policy of free public transport for all which puts Gibraltar ahead of most other cities, anywhere in the world, in this particular context.