14 – 20 February 2001

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Board to monitor VRT tests in pipeline
One VRT operator fined Lm5,000

By Miriam Dunn

An Advisory Board is set to be established to monitor operators of Vehicle Roadworthiness Tests, a spokesman for the Transport ministry confirmed yesterday.

Saviour Farrugia also revealed that one VRT operator has been fined Lm5,000 after he was found to be in breach of the regulations, while three other proprietors have been reprimanded after irregularities were found in their work.

The idea of the Advisory Board was originally proposed by the director general of the Association of General Retailers and Traders, which represents the VRT operators, and will contain representatives from both this side and the department, with a chairman who is acceptable to both sides.

Saviour Farrugia explained that the Board would provide information on a number of issues, including breach of regulations by authorised operators of testing stations and applications for new testing stations, while also ensuring that procedures are made more transparent.

The operators of the VRT stations have been caught up in a series of controversies since the project was first launched.

When the test was introduced, the operators protested that they had bought the equipment but that it was standing idle because of delays in getting the scheme off the ground.

More recently, GRTU director general Vince Farrugia highlighted the fact that there were too many operators working in the sector for the number of cars coming up for testing.

Mr Farrugia questioned whether it might be necessary to readjust the workings of the VRT stations, and even said it might become necessary for them to work on a roster basis.

At present, there are 34 authorised testing stations, while a total of 117,347 tests have been carried out since the introduction of the VRT in October 1999.

So far, 104,078 vehicles passed the test, while 13,269 vehicles failed – just over 11 per cent. A total of 11,381 vehicles were re-tested.

The problem of too many VRT garages for not enough tests might be an issue of concern, but the Ministry's spokesman said there were no plans to change the system at present.

"It has always been the policy of this and previous administrations, that whoever satisfies the requirements contained in the testing regulations will be granted a licence to operate a testing station," Saviour Farrugia said. "It is not considered opportune to revise such a policy yet."

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt