“It doesn’t mean that, afterwards, we don’t have some trains that are currently around 2/3, and we have some trains in that situation, and this is obviously a matter of concern, considering that we are talking about limiting the capacity, ”said the governor who oversees the company CP, warning that, as people return to work, there will be more pressure on public transport.
Before the covid-19 pandemic, trains on the Sintra Line used to run “with 160% capacity”, recalled Pedro Nuno Santos, explaining that “the problem on the Sintra Line, unfortunately, is many years old”, and considering that responsibility must be shared between the PS Government and the previous PSD and CDS-PP Government.
“All the trains available, the entire offer we had for AML is circulating and is in circulation losing money, in fact all transport operators are losing money”, said the minister, adding that there are limitations in infrastructure and material current assets that prevent the increase in supply on the Sintra Line, where there has been greater demand.
Ensuring that the overwhelming majority of trains comply with a maximum capacity of 2/3, while recognizing that “this does not mean that people do not feel that they are in a crowded environment”, the minister explained that the analysis of overcrowding situations “is more complex than looking at a photograph ”.
“We were unable to reach a social distance of two meters on a train, it is not possible. We had the train carrying very few people, this is not viable from the point of view of the CP and it is not viable from the point of view of the needs of the populations, it is not possible to do that, that is why this is such a delicate issue ”, maintained Pedro Nuno Santos, expressing openness to receive all suggestions to solve this “which is a really difficult problem”.
Among the 2,000 workers of CP who operate inside the trains, there are three cases of covid-19 infection, the official said, indicating that there is no case of infection among the 700 workers of external cleaning companies.
“I am not saying that there is no risk of transmission on the train, I am trying to put the issue in perspective, with objective information”, stressed the Minister of Infrastructure, highlighting the reinforcement of the cleaning and hygiene of the trains, which are ensured daily and, when possible , more than once a day.
Regarding the possible reinforcement of trains at AML, Pedro Nuno Santos said that CP and Infraestruturas de Portugal are studying the timetable change, so that it is possible to “increase marginally the capacity on the Sintra Line”, work that must be completed in September, because it interferes with the schedules of the entire national railway network.
Visa prior to public service contract is “great victory for CP and the national railway”
“Yesterday [segunda-feira], the Court of Auditors gave the public service contract a visa. It was a great victory for the CP and the national railroad ”, said the Minister of Infrastructure. “For the first time in the history of this company, the State is going to have a transparent relationship with this company,” he added.
At issue is the contract that will allow the railway carrier to be compensated for the provision of public service.
The government official stressed that CP is a company that has accumulated a “very large” debt over the years, because the State did not finance it “properly”.
“CP had to accumulate debt, not because it is a bottomless pit for the country, but because the country, the State, did not pay CP for the service that forced it to provide”.
Now, he said, the carrier will be paid for “the public service that the State requires CP to provide”.
On Monday, the Government announced that the Court of Auditors had issued a visa prior to the public service contract between the State and CP, which will allow the railway carrier to be compensated for the provision of public service.
In a statement, the office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing also stated that, with the issuance of this visa, “the conditions are met to start the transfer for the year 2020”.
The public service contract between the Government and CP – Comboios de Portugal, signed last November, establishes, “objectively, clearly and transparently, a set of public service obligations to which CP is bound for the period of 2020 to 2030, the respective compensation and the quantifiable operational indicators for measuring non-compliance ”, reads the statement.
With this contract, the State will have contractual conditions to require CP to comply with service indicators, set for the next 10 years.
In return, the State undertakes to pay compensation to CP in the amount that will be determined annually.
“This contract gives CP more financial capacity to provide the service, as well as for the maintenance and renewal of rolling stock, concretizing the reinforcement of investment in the railroad foreseen in the Program of the XXII Government”, concludes the statement.
According to the resolution of the Council of Ministers published in Diário da República on June 12, the Government will transfer, in the next 10 years, more than 850 million euros to CP, for the fulfillment of public service obligations.
For this year, the amount of financial compensation to the company for fulfilling public service obligations will be 88 million euros.
According to the document, the financial compensation aims to ensure that the performance of public service obligations by CP is financially sustainable and allows an efficient management by the public service operator, on the one hand, and, on the other, the provision of transport services. passengers with an adequate level of quality and safety, with a view to promoting universal access, territorial cohesion and safeguarding users’ rights.
[Notícia atualizada às 17:02]