14 September 2005

The Web

UHM against park and ride

Karl Schembri
The Union Haddiema Maghqudin will today express its opposition to the government’s park and ride plans in Valletta and Floriana, claiming the parking fees will “further erode workers’ pay packet” and slamming the government for lack of consultation.
The union’s secretary general, Gejtu Vella, will be giving a press conference today about the government’s plans, taking a stand against the planned scheme which is supposed to be implemented in the first half of next year.
Speaking ahead of the press conference, Vella told The Malta Financial and Business Times that his union will oppose the plans.
“With the tariffs the government is proposing, workers in Valletta and Floriana will see further erosion to their pay packet,” Vella said. “We haven’t been consulted on this project, and I have my doubts whether any impact studies have been carried out.”
“It’s going to be an incredible waste of time to get all workers out of Valletta and Floriana during peak hours,” Vella said. “It’s good to come up with new initiatives but you can’t just publish a consultation document when you’ve already started works on this project. What kind of consultation is that?”
Apart from having its own headquarters in Floriana, UHM represents thousands of workers employed in Valletta and Floriana.
UHM follows the Floriana council and the Valletta hawkers in opposing the strategy published by the government last July to reduce traffic congestion in the capital and its suburb.
Floriana unanimously turned down the government’s plans to start charging car owners who park in the locality in a vote taken last Wednesday.
The council decided to opt out of the proposal to install cameras in the locality tracking down all cars entering there and charging them according to their length of stay.
Instead of the sophisticated closed circuit cameras, the council has opted to increase the roads where non-residents will be limited to park for a restricted time, after which they will get a fine from the ever vigilant local wardens.
Meanwhile the Valletta hawkers are resisting their relocation further down Merchants Street, claiming the move would be their “death blow”.

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