GRTU dubs traf­fic sit­u­a­tion ‘un­ac­cept­able’, calls for im­me­di­ate ac­tion

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

The traf­fic sit­u­a­tion has be­come un­bear­able and un­ac­cept­able, the GRTU - Malta Cham­ber of SMEs – said yes­ter­day.

In a state­ment, the GRTU said that it has been in­un­dated by mem­bers’ con­cerns from across busi­ness sec­tors that the alarm­ing sit­u­a­tion is not just one of frus­tra­tion and tar­di­ness, but prof­itabil­ity and com­pet­i­tive­ness.

“Jus­ti­fi­ca­tions re­lated to in­fra­struc­ture and dis­cussing longterm pos­si­bil­i­ties have long ex­pired,” the GRTU said.

The GRTU said its mem­bers “have in­vested time and re­sources to con­sult, dis­cuss and put for­ward pro­pos­als to the au­thor­i­ties re­spon­si­ble for trans­port and traf­fic man­age­ment, pro­pos­als that have time and time again been left on the shelf. The GRTU’s ap­proach was al­ways to gather around the ta­ble and dis­cuss but this has not achieved any­thing close to the de­sired re­sults of im­prove­ment. The sit­u­a­tion is af­fect­ing busi­ness across the board and the lack of ef­fec­tive plan­ning and im­ple­men­ta­tion are re­sult­ing in each and ev­ery one of us pay­ing the price.

“Chauf­feur-driven trans­port has cho­sen not to op­er­ate dur­ing spe­cific peak times, trans­port and de­liv­ery costs are ris­ing due to in­ef­fi­cien­cies caused by heavy traf­fic, cus­tomers are giv­ing up driv­ing to go shop­ping, and work­ers are be­com­ing less ef­fi­cient per day of work due to time wasted in traf­fic.

“The ex­pec­ta­tion for driv­ers and busi­nesses to be pa­tient with the traf­fic sit­u­a­tion and ac­cept the sta­tus quo should not even be con­sid­ered. Tan­gi­ble ac­tions need to be taken im­mi­nently.”

The GRTU called for the au­thor­i­ties to take the fol­low­ing im­me­di­ate ac­tion to al­le­vi­ate the traf­fic cri­sis:

1. Pri­vate Col­lec­tive Trans­port – Free for all schools, or­gan­ised trans­port for all gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees and im­me­di­ate out­lay of in­cen­tives for em­ploy­ers to or­gan­ise pri­vate col­lec­tive trans­port for their own work­ers.

2. En­force­ment Over­haul – Lo­cal War­dens and TM Of­fi­cials need to work hand-in-hand with traf­fic po­lice. Giv­ing out fines needs to be com­pletely and ir­re­versibly re­placed with co­or­di­nat­ing and as­sist­ing traf­fic at all times but more dur­ing peak traf­fic. Emer­gency teams need to be closer to peak ar­eas to im­me­di­ately ad­dress any traf­fic col­li­sions with min­i­mum im­pact on flow of traf­fic. Smart ap­pli­ca­tion of in­tel­li­gent trans­port sys­tems such as traf­fic lights and screens which are cur­rently ei­ther un­der­utilised, used to fine, or ex­ac­er­bat­ing rather than sup­port­ing traf­fic, need to be en­hanced and adapted to sup­port and man­age traf­fic flows. A Cri­sis Traf­fic Team needs to be set up to take im­me­di­ate ac­tion, mon­i­tor daily if need be, im­ple­ment de­ci­sions and re­view de­ci­sions ac­cord­ing to traf­fic im­pact and sit­u­a­tion.

3. Change in At­ti­tude for Pub­lic works and Clo­sures - Projects with na­tional im­pact such as the Kap­para Junc­tion Project need to have work un­der­taken roundthe-clock with­out fur­ther ex­cuses. This project is a ma­jor bur­den on traf­fic and ev­ery hour wasted from its com­ple­tion is a dis­ser­vice to the coun­try. There is so much work that can be car­ried out dur­ing the night and week­ends to re­duce the over­all de­tailed project time plan, which to date has not yet been pro­vided to the GRTU. Zero al­lowance of pub­lic/main­te­nance works or part-/full- clo­sures by any pub­lic en­tity to al­low per­mits dur­ing peak hours.

4. Im­me­di­ate im­ple­men­ta­tion of Car Parks/Park and Ride op­tions – The GRTU has been push­ing for un­der-utilised ar­eas to be used as park and ride zones of­fer­ing key park­ing ar­eas and shut­tle ser­vice to hub ar­eas, such as the Gzira Sta­dium. Car park de­vel­op­ment needs to be in­cen­tivised and given pri­or­ity at Plan­ning Au­thor­ity level.

5. Shift to stag­ger­ing hours, on­line ser­vices, work-from-home and flex­itime –gov­ern­ment has to lead by ex­am­ple. De­part­ments across the board need to im­me­di­ately adopt a work-from-home ap­proach dur­ing spe­cific hours and stag­ger­ing the work­ing times of em­ploy­ees. It can­not be sus­tain­able for ev­ery­one to drive to Val­letta at the same time be­cause this is what has al­ways been done.

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