Public Transport under Threat

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Free at Last
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Public Transport under Threat

Postby Free at Last » Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:35 am

I emailed Alsa a couple of days ago about the fact that the bus services from Vélez-Málaga to Málaga and Vélez to Nerja are still reduced to a fraction of their former frequency although we are now in Phase 3. This morning I received this rather disturbing reply to the effect that they considered the previous level of services to have been too good and are now undertaking a feasibility study evaluating customer demand and even considering withdrawing from the contract to provide services at all. If the pandemic proves to be a convenient reason for transport companies to slash services drastically it will be a very retrograde step and impact the ability of people who use public transport to get around.

"Anteriormente al covid, se prestaban entre Málaga y Velez, así como entre Velez Málaga y Motril, múltiples servicios de ida y vuelta, oferta de servicios muy por encima de la demanda real, insuficiente para mantener el equilibrio económico del servicio.

Estamos a expensas de las resoluciones que nos remitan desde las Administraciones para que, en función de las medidas de seguridad respecto de covid19, medidas de movilidad, formas de pago, ocupaciones de los vehículos, demanda de usuarios y las necesarias compensaciones económicas, para poder estudiar la posibilidad de la prestación de los servicios solicitados.


Entendemos que la oferta es adecuada, no obstante analizaremos la demanda que se pueda producir y cualquier modificación en la prestación de los servicios, teniendo en cuenta los condicionantes anteriores.

Actualmente y con las condiciones de prestación de los servicios establecidas por la administración, se está estudiando una reactivación que se ha de entender suficiente para la posible demanda de usuarios y la capacidad de los vehículos condicionada a las compensaciones económicas de la administración e incluso se está valorando el abandono del contrato de gestión por desequilibrio económico."

olive
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Re: Public Transport under Threat

Postby olive » Wed Jun 10, 2020 10:22 am

What social distancing was there on the limited services?

I have some sympathy with a company operating under such circumstances. It may all be a ploy to get some form of government assistance especially if the profitability of the service was marginal before CV19.

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costakid
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Re: Public Transport under Threat

Postby costakid » Wed Jun 10, 2020 11:09 am

Thats a disaster for anyone relying on the bus who has a home east of Malaga. Seems that we always get the sh++ end of the stick and Malaga to Estepona get the cream.

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Re: Public Transport under Threat

Postby Free at Last » Wed Jun 10, 2020 12:10 pm

olive wrote: Wed Jun 10, 2020 10:22 am What social distancing was there on the limited services?

I have some sympathy with a company operating under such circumstances. It may all be a ploy to get some form of government assistance especially if the profitability of the service was marginal before CV19.
From the beginning of Phase 3, all seats on buses and trains are allowed to be occupied so limited capacity due to social distancing should not be an issue.

I did wonder if they are angling for increased Government subsidies. However, I would dispute what they say about considering the present services to be adequate. Before the lockdown, we had a service to Málaga every 45 minutes from Vélez. A few on weekdays were Directo services but most went along the coast serving places like Torre del Mar, Almayate, Valle Niza, Benajarafe and Chilches. Without these services people will find it very difficult to get around. It's not quite so bad for Rincón de la Victoria and El Palo, because they are served by Málaga city buses as well. Most of the services, in my experience, were pretty full once they reached Torre del Mar, and after the peak time services used by workers they were used by people travelling to hospital appointments in Málaga, to shop or other leisure activities, and to connect with long distance bus and train services and the airport.

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Re: Public Transport under Threat

Postby Free at Last » Wed Jun 10, 2020 12:12 pm

costakid wrote: Wed Jun 10, 2020 11:09 am Thats a disaster for anyone relying on the bus who has a home east of Malaga. Seems that we always get the sh++ end of the stick and Malaga to Estepona get the cream.
I agree with you, Costakid.

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Re: Public Transport under Threat

Postby Free at Last » Wed Jun 10, 2020 12:14 pm

Free at Last wrote: Wed Jun 10, 2020 12:10 pm
olive wrote: Wed Jun 10, 2020 10:22 am What social distancing was there on the limited services?

I have some sympathy with a company operating under such circumstances. It may all be a ploy to get some form of government assistance especially if the profitability of the service was marginal before CV19.
From the beginning of Phase 3, all seats on buses and trains are allowed to be occupied so limited capacity due to social distancing should not be an issue.

I did wonder if they are angling for increased Government subsidies. However, I would dispute what they say about considering the present services to be adequate. Before the lockdown, we had a service to Málaga every 45 minutes from Vélez. A few on weekdays were Directo services but most went along the coast serving places like Torre del Mar, Almayate, Valle Niza, Benajarafe and Chilches. Without these services people will find it very difficult to get around. It's not quite so bad for Rincón de la Victoria and El Palo, because they are served by Málaga city buses as well. Most of the services, in my experience, were pretty full once they reached Torre del Mar, and after the peak time services used by workers they were used by people travelling to hospital appointments in Málaga, to shop or other leisure activities, and to connect with long distance bus and train services and the airport. Indeed, I have seen people not being allowed to board at the Malaga Puerto stop because services were already full, and there were notices displayed at that stop and at the Málaga bus station advising passengers to reserve their tickets for the return journey to Torre del Mar (and Nerja) in order to be sure of getting a seat.

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Re: Public Transport under Threat

Postby Pamela1 » Wed Jun 10, 2020 1:25 pm

Reducing services or canceling the contract would be a disaster to those people who are reliant on the bus service.It would also be a disaster for tourism, i visit Nerja once every May using the bus service and if the bus timetable is severly reduced or canceled that puts paid to my stay in Nerja...

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Re: Public Transport under Threat

Postby Free at Last » Wed Jun 10, 2020 2:00 pm

Yes I agree, Pamela. At the moment there are only 5 services a day running from Málaga to Nerja (nothing between 8.15 am and 12.15pm, for example) and the other 25 services which normally run are suspended.

From Vélez we now have 6 services running on weekdays to Málaga (nothing between 9.30 am and 2.30pm) and the other 25 normal services are suspended.

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Re: Public Transport under Threat

Postby elusive » Wed Jun 10, 2020 2:10 pm

Crazy. No services in the morning. Totally agree alot of ppl use the bus to nerja for holidays. The direct airport bus is bad enough interms of how many times a day it runs. But if ppl dont want to hire a car it will put alot of ppl off having to pay more for a taxi than a flight!

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Re: Public Transport under Threat

Postby Pamela1 » Wed Jun 10, 2020 6:05 pm

Yes that's right Elusive, in all honesty it is not in my interests to hire a car just to park it for the duration on the dirt car park on the edge of Nerja then leave for the airport.It will have an effect on tourism that's for sure and either cutting back on services or canceling them altogether isn't exactly helping to get the country moving.I assume there will be residents who take the bus to get to work.. what a nightmare..I have used the bus many times, not just to get to Nerja and back to Malaga but we have used it while staying in Nerja and the service to Malaga is well used by the locals and the tourists, it will be a step backwards if the service is reduced or goes altogether..I hope this wont turn out to be a similar story throughout Andalucia.

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Re: Public Transport under Threat

Postby Wicksey » Thu Jun 11, 2020 8:09 pm

In the summer there are a huge amount of people at the Nerja and Torrox bus stations waiting for buses. Friends and their family with a car at their holiday home here always get the bus to and from the airport. I can't believe they're thinking of either keeping the reduced service or giving up entirely. Do you think it's just whilst there are no tourists here. If there's no bus service then I think that would greatly affect future tourism.

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Re: Public Transport under Threat

Postby Free at Last » Fri Jun 12, 2020 9:23 am

I couldn't say whether they are only thinking of the situation whilst there are no tourists - all I have to go on is the email I received which I quoted in full in the OP, and that doesn't mention the tourism situation at all. I suppose if one bus company did give notice of intention to withdraw from providing the service, the Junta de Andalucia would be able to invite other companies to submit tenders (if any would be interested). I can't imagine that they would leave a municipality the size of Vélez with a population of over 80,000 with no inter-urbano services, but I do think there's a real threat that post-pandemic services will be a fraction of what we had before.

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costakid
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Re: Public Transport under Threat

Postby costakid » Fri Jun 12, 2020 12:21 pm

Lets hope it is just a temporary reduced service while there are less tourists about although Velez to Malaga city is always pretty full all times of the day. There is always a Q at the Torre Del Mar station.

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Re: Public Transport under Threat

Postby Free at Last » Fri Jun 12, 2020 12:48 pm

That's why I don't agree with what the bus company said in their email to me about the previous levels of service having been well in excess of actual demand.

Had they said that the reduced service was in place for a temporary period due to reduced demand because of the absence of tourists (although the Vélez to Málaga service was busy all year round) I could have understood that, but they didn't. Their claim is that the present level of service is adequate. I could not really argue that the Vélez to Nerja service was well used, but if the Málaga to Nerja service was restored to previous levels at least we could use that by getting a connecting bus to Torre del Mar. At the moment that option is severely reduced too. People from Nerja and the places in between who need to get to the Hospital Comarcal de la Axarquia for appointments or to visit in-patients must be finding it difficult if they don't have a car.

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Re: Public Transport under Threat

Postby Free at Last » Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:35 pm

Have just done a new search of the Alsa website for Vélez to Málaga buses on Friday 26 June, and a couple more services have been added including an 11.45 am service which at least plugs some of the long gap which was previously there between 9.30 and 14.30. There are now 8 services on weekdays from Vélez to Málaga and 7 coming back.

No extra buses showing on the Málaga to Nerja route though.

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Re: Public Transport under Threat

Postby Free at Last » Wed Jun 24, 2020 5:58 pm

From checking the Alsa website today, it appears that a few more services have been added back on the Vélez-Málaga to Málaga route - there is now a service at 11.30 and at 13.00 from Vélez to Málaga, which is better than the previous gap between 9.30 and 14.30, and there are now 12 scheduled services in all.

Also a couple more service have been added to the Málaga to Nerja route.

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Re: Public Transport under Threat

Postby Free at Last » Tue Oct 19, 2021 1:54 pm

I noticed this morning from new timetables posted at the bus station that more services have been added on the Velez-Malaga to Malaga route with effect from yesterday, bringing the total number of services Monday-Friday to 20 in each direction (still less than the 30 per day we had before the pandemic, but a lot better than it has been). The 11.45 bus from Velez to Malaga is now a Directo, which is useful if wanting to go into Malaga for lunch. The buses have been very full for the last few months so the journeys have been taking longer than they should, up to 1hr 45 for a ruta service sometimes, and the last time we went about 3 weeks ago at least a dozen people were left behind at the Malaga Puerto stop on the return journey, as the bus was full and the driver would not let them board. I imagine Alsa will have had a lot of complaints if that was a regular occurrence.

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Re: Public Transport under Threat

Postby daveboy » Tue Oct 19, 2021 3:25 pm

The 260/167 bus from Velez/TDM wasn’t stopping yesterday at lots of stops as no standing on that bus and it was full. A friend had a nightmare getting to Malaga for an appointment as he is halfway and at his stop the bus was already full. Need more buses at busy times.

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Re: Public Transport under Threat

Postby Free at Last » Tue Oct 19, 2021 3:32 pm

I hope everybody who is inconvenienced in this way emails Alsa (contact details on their website) to complain, otherwise their problems won't be recognised. It is no good complaining to the drivers, as they don't have any control over the number of services being run, and I bet they are getting a load of stick from the public.

If they get a load of complaints from people who haven't been able to board full buses, they won't be able to say (as they did to me when I complained about how few services there were on this route) that the level of service is adequate.

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Re: Public Transport under Threat

Postby El Cid » Tue Oct 19, 2021 5:34 pm

They are probably suffering from a lack of drivers like everywhere else.

They are probably all driving lorries for more money. There is no short term solution to that and complaining is not likely to improve the situation.

In the UK they are now worried that they won’t have enough drivers for the gritters for the same reasons.

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