Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Traffic chaos “from bad to worse”, says Randall

• GSLP/Libs call for lowering of telephone charges

Opposition spokesman for Transport Lucio Randall has said the Gibraltar Government should do more to alleviate the traffic chaos on local roads and said this was going from “bad to worse.”

In his Budget Speech, Mr Randall noted how out of a budget of £500k for road maintenance and resurfacing only £309k was spent. He also reiterated his criticism that the buses of the Gibraltar Bus Company are too big and there is nothing that can be done about it “other than to live with another unwise decision by Government.”

“The fact that they are too big can be evidenced by the difficultly bus drivers have in negotiating certain parts of our highway,” said Mr Randall. He declared the size of the vehicles contributes to the “chaos on our roads,” but conceded that the service being provided now is better than before.

On the question of the construction of car parking spaces Mr Randall said government had failed to use the resources allocated in the budget in the past two years.

Meanwhile Mr Randall said they were opposed to “the excessive increases” in transport related fees introduced by the Government – the first in 20 years and repeated his party’s commitment to abolish road tax within its first term of office.

Mr Randall also reminded the House that the industrial dispute with the driver and vehicle examiners at the MOT licensing department has still not been resolved by Government since he raised the issue in the House in April 2004.

As regards telecommunications, Mr Randall said that for as long as Spain constrains Gibraltar’s telephone numbering plan and prevents its companies from entering into roaming agreements with local GSM operators, it would be, “to say the least, bizarre” to allow GSM services to be offered in Gibraltar from networks located and/or run from Spain.

Mr Randall called for a lowering of Gibtelecom charges to customers, and said there is plenty of scope for reduction given the company’s pre-tax profits. He encouraged Minister Fabian Vinet, as chairman, to use his influence with Verizon to ensure the company “reduces charges it levies at a much faster pace.” Failure to do so, he continued, could encourage more and more customers “to bypass the networks of the company to obtain services at a more favourable price.”

Mr Randall pointed to the use of bypass by customers, to avoid paying 20p per minute for a local telephone call from the fixed to the mobile network.

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