Minister Gatt is not known as one to mince his words and has often attracted positive comments from this corner of the world of punditry. He has now decided to take on that wonderful world of transport monopolies that stretches from shabby coaches to arrogant taxis to the last drives on this earth (funeral hearses): The Federation of Transport Operators threatens to wreak havoc if Gatt’s plans to liberalise these sectors materialise – and Gatt has already told them to bring it on.
Transport operators currently enjoying some sort of protection could not expect to have a veto on any initiatives taken in the interests of users of public transport, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Austin Gatt warned this afternoon. He was reacting to a statement by the Federation of Transport Operators in Malta which claimed that Dr Gatt last week made a proposal to the Cabinet to liberalise the sectors of tourist coaches, hearses and taxis.
Carry on Transporting Gatt! What J’accuse is worried about is that the much more needed reform of the real public transport sector – read buses and eventual plans for trains – is far from showing any tangible effects. In any case the state of the hearses market had already been examined by the Commission of Fair Trading in the morbidly named case “EZ 1/2001 Funerali” when the Commission decided that the conditions for allowing the hearse companies to operate under an exemption from Competition Law no longer existed.
Slowly but surely – we might even expect to see some tangible change in the near future. Let’s see how this reform business will fit in once the new fuel surcharge is announced.
For more detailed discussion on Public Transport in Malta visit Gybexi’s forum: http://ptmalta.blogspot.com .