Monday, 24 October 2011

Gibraltar restructures bus service

GIBRALTAR (GibChronicle)  The Gibraltar Government on Thursday announced a major overhaul of the bus routes to reflect feedback from nearly 600 passengers surveyed during the peak month of August. Among the key changes will be the introduction of a bus card entitling passengers to free travel on all routes except the ones linking the border to town, which will continue to cost £1. Anyone – including non residents - will be entitled to apply for the cards, which will cost £5 and carry photo ID of each individual passenger, making them non transferable. But the card – to be known as the Gibraltar Bus Company Club Card - will take a week to be issued on application, meaning day trippers and short-term visitors to the Rock will have to pay to use the buses.>>> The measure will address concerns that tour groups hosting day trips were abusing the free bus system. The changes to the routes are laid out in detail on pages 16 and 17 of today’s Chronicle. A key effect of the changes is a greater number and frequency of options for passengers moving from the south district to the north end and east side of the Rock.

The Gibraltar Bus Company will also introduce a night service on Fridays and Saturdays during school holidays, running from 9pm to 4am.

The night bus will cover the length of the Gibraltar hourly and is aimed at encouraging youngsters to leave their motorbikes and cars at home when going out at the weekend.

The route changes will come into effect on November 1.

An exact date has yet to be fixed for the entry into force of the cards, so as to ensure that everyone who needs one has ample opportunity to apply.

Application forms can be downloaded from the Gibraltar Bus Company website or from its office in Casemates.

When the free bus service was introduced last May, the Government said at the time that it would monitor feedback and adjust routes accordingly.

Presenting the changes yesterday, Joe Holliday, the Minister for Enterprise, Development, Technology and Transport, said the changes had taken into account the views of the hundreds of people surveyed over the summer.

In broad terms, the survey found that most people were satisfied with the bus service and expressed positive views when asked about a issues ranging from comfort to reliability.

“We’ve taken these views into consideration, though ultimately you’re never going to be able to please everybody,” Mr Holliday said.

“What we’ve tried to do is get the best service possible for Gibraltar.”

“We’re also making sure we look after the local interest over the interests the visitor interest.”

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