Tag Archives | buses

Another knock to Portugal economy ; Fontes rediscovered ; German flights return

Today’s photo – thanks to Der … Another one of those old bus photos I started showing some months back. I must emphasise that it is a photo of a photo, and I was not actually around to take this shot many years ago.

madeira news blog 0911 der old buses 2

Many thanks to Elaine (East) for these website links :

The Rede – traditional transport now for hire in Funchal. HERE

The Classical Orchestra, OCM, has a new website with an English version. HERE

Many thanks to Paul for this interesting piece and the link to the WSJ video:

The socio-economic and employment situation in Madeira. Over the past decade, Madeira has seen dynamic economic growth with GDP per capita in 2003 reaching 90 % of the EU-25 average – above that of most of mainland Portugal.

Much of this growth has been driven by the increasing importance of the services sector in the economy, including real estate and tourism services, which complement more traditional industries such as agriculture and fishing. While in the past Madeirans would emigrate to find work, economic growth has largely reversed this trend and today the region has generally lower unemployment by Portuguese standards.

Employment also grew by 5 % in the decade up to 2004, in particular in the 25-44-year age group. Growth in the services sector has contributed to rising levels of female employment that reached 41.8 % in 2004, although this remained below the EU target of 60 % then. Education levels are also improving. Between 2000 and 2003 the number of workers without basic qualifications fell to 8.6 % and those with basic, secondary and higher levels of education all increased. This feature is due to earlier investments in the education and training system in Madeira.

However, among job-seekers, 3 in 4 of them have less than a secondary level of education. The number of long-term unemployed has been stable at around one-third of the total unemployed. Madeira is making extensive efforts to develop its economy and private sector in ways that capitalise on the particular advantages the region can offer, including by making significant infrastructure investments even though these are less than in the earlier 2000-2006 funding period.

To sustain economic growth and rising employment Madeira now needs to expand its labour market and provide its workers with the skills the Madeiran economy and businesses need today and in the future.

The European Social Fund. The European Social Fund, created in 1957, is the European Union’s main financial instrument for investing in people. It supports employment and helps people enhance their education and skills. This improves their job prospects.

Source: Information service of DG Employment, Social Affairs & Equal Opportunities Communication Unit, Brussels

ESF priorities in Madeira. Madeira’s strategy for ESF funding has global objectives :

-to significantly increase the level of education and training among its people, and in

particular in technology-related areas,

-to create more jobs in ways that support entrepreneurial initiatives

and the requirements of the regional labour market;

-to improve social cohesion and regional governance.

To achieve these objectives the ESF Operational

Programme has two main priorities:

Priority 1 : Education and training

Priority 2 : Employment and social cohesion

Portugal Downgrade Adds To Debt Woes. A solution to Greece’s budget woes remains elusive for the EU. Now Fitch’s downgrade of Portugal reminds investors, again, that Athens is not alone in the dark. WALL ST JOURNAL VIDEO 

Also an article on the issue and impacts from the BBC HERE

Madeira fungi                    Thanks to Pete

Many thanks to Elaine once again for yesterday’s top news stories :

DIÁRIO 24/03/2010

FRONT PAGE NEWS

Cleaning reveals the Fontes de João Dinis. This water source has been buried for decades in the gardens that separate the Palácio de São Lourenço from the Avenida do Mar. The mudslide that hit Funchal on the 20th February entered these gardens and on removing the debris, this public water supply was uncovered. It was built 520 years ago. In 1490, Funchal Council approved the water from the ‘Altinho das Fontes’ when they built the first fort which became the Palácio de São Lourenço. Historians have identified the Fontes de João Dinis from photographs from the 1930s, before the Avenida do Mar was constructed. Photographs from the twentieth century prove that the fountain was still in good working order. The fountain is to be left on view when the centuries old pebble pavement and gardens are renovated.

MADEIRA

Luso-Canadians gather one million Canadian dollars. Over the past month, 700,000 Canadian dollars have been collected for Madeira and the community hopes to reach one million. The campaign started on TV and radio stations for the Portuguese in Canada. A festival of folklore arranged by the Canadian Madeira Club brought together 18 dance groups and the club hosted three dinners to raise money. Last weekend, the largest union for civil construction workers held a dinner for 1,100 people and collected 280,000 Canadian dollars. The union has 46,000 members of which several thousand are Luso-Canadians.

Solidarity takes three mayors to London. Miguel Albuquerque, Ismael Fernandes and Arlindo Gomes, the Mayors of Funchal, Ribeira Brava and Câmara de Lobos, respectively, will go to the solidarity dinner in London on Saturday. All 800 tickets have been sold and the organizers could have sold another 500 if the room at the Ibis Hotel at Earls Court could accommodate more. It is uncertain if the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson can attend and the event will not be broadcasted live on RTP-Madeira as previously reported. The dinner costs a reasonable 30 pounds per person including drinks. Also present will be the President of Marítimo (Carlos Pereira), Ricardo Pestana from the Banif bank, the Ambassador of Portugal, the Portuguese Consul, the Madeiran Advisor and the leader of Lambeth Council. More than 60 volunteers will help prepare and serve food and drinks. The two singers, Vânia Fernandes and Adelaide Ferreira provide live entertainment.

ECONOMY

TUI Germany should have two winter flights again. Two charter flights that were cancelled three years ago during the winter season 2007/8 are being renegotiated. Until four years ago, these flights brought 70,000 tourists to Madeira. Over the past four years, the German market along with other European markets fell by 20%. Last year, TUI brought 50,000 tourists from Germany. Negotiations are for two flights from Frankfurt and Dusseldorf with Stuttgart as another option. If the deal materialises, TUI will no longer use Air Berlin, a low-cost carrier that connects Madeira to more than a dozen German cities, although many are indirect flights. Proposals for more routes for Air Berlin to fly to Madeira are not as promising as hoped.

Reid’s Palace is one of the ten top historic hotels.  Reid’s Palace luxury hotel, part of the Orient-Express chain, is listed as the fifth most outstanding historic hotel in Europe and the United States. The list was compiled on the British Trivago hotel comparison website from customer evaluations and prices. It is cited as having an excellent location on the south coast of Funchal and a brief history of the hotel is included on the Trivago website. The top hotel is the 1861 five-star Palace Beau Rivage in Lausanne, Switzerland. The list is HERE

JORNAL DA MADEIRA

REGION

New leader of PSD will not be invited. A few days before Friday’s election of the new national leader of the PSD, Alberto Jardim warns that there will be no-one from Lisbon invited to this year’s PSD-M Festa do Chão da Lagoa. The festa is scheduled for the last weekend in July. Jardim thinks the internal bickering and intrigues will continue within the national party. Regardless of who wins, even if it is Paulo Rangel, he says the leader could not efficiently organize the party structure. Although there are 15,000 PSD members in Madeira, only 8,000 can vote at the national level. — Jardim said the national PSD would continue "um albergue espanhol" – Spanish hostel, asylum ? Anyone know what this phrase means?

RAM wants to integrate into OSPAR. A meeting of representatives from six countries in OSPAR is being held in Funchal. The inclusion of Madeira in the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Northeast Atlantic would be beneficial to the region, along with the inclusion of the Canary Islands. The Azores are already in OSPAR. This would help to protect the marine environment which is a vital resource for Madeira. This intention must be formalized by the Regional and Republic Governments. At the conference, Madeira won praise for the protection of marine species and preservation of biodiversity. Illegal fishing in international waters is a worry for the representatives and the Madeiran fishermen are having to go further out to catch fish in deep water.

Several hypotheses for the inerts stored at the bay of Funchal. The Regional Director for the Environment acknowledged that the debris stored at the bay of Funchal prejudices the image of the city. He says it was the right decision due to the circumstances of the tragedy. It is unthinkable to move the material elsewhere on land, especially to higher areas from where it could be washed down again. It would take thousands of trucks to move it all. The several hypotheses would have to be studied both economically and environmentally. The material could be kept where it is to add another zone by the sea. It could be moved to other coastal areas requiring protection from the sea, for example the bathing complexes at Lido and Barreirinha. It could be dumped at sea, as allowed by law as it is from a tragedy, and to reduce environmental impact would have to be deposited between 2,000 – 4,000 metres deep.

EVENTS

Whale sighted off the coast of Paul. A whale was spotted about 400 metres off the coast of Paul do Mar for a few minutes at around 11.30 am. It could have been a sperm whale and was offshore near the cafe area and the statue of fishermen. Although it is normal to see whales in the region, especially in this area, it is unusual for them to be so close to land. The information is recorded on a database at the Whale Museum for the regional authorities and the European Commission and used in studies and educational programs.

Today’s news headlines from the front page of the Diário de Notícias :

Those made homeless forgotten in Campanário – Storm left people without house losing hope : the authorities just photographed the damage.

Collapse in telecommunications obliges the move of the networks to safer locations.

Today’s main news headline : Rangel plays down autonomy – The motion of the candidate preferred by [president] Jardim to lead the Social Democrat Party set aside just one paragraph on the autonomy issues. Hmmmm … I reckon this is a bit of naughtiness by the Diário to put a spanner in the works of President Jardim’s voting plans in tomorrow’s national PSD leadership election. I don’t think Jardim cares for any of the candidates to be honest, and he has given the PSD members on Madeira his blessing to vote for who they want (theoretically at least). What would be really interesting is if Passos Coelho wins the leadership election, because Jardim hates him with a vengeance. Should Coelho win, then we will have a bizarre situation where Jardim is then more closely aligned to his new buddy, and ex-worst enemy, Prime Minister Sócrates of the Socialists, than to his own party at national level. 

Social Democrat Party already agrees to give the votes asked for by the Socialists – Another mess in the Parliament. Serrão was not elected and asked for the intervention of [president] Cavaco. At night, the PSD said that it would give the necessary votes.

Socialist Party has an alternative PEC [Programme of Stability and Growth] for Madeira.

Incentives to businesses without tax demands.

The main sport headline today : FIA confirms triumph of Vítor Sá on Porto Santo [rally] – The software used was approved. A rival of the Madeiran had claimed that the winning car had been ‘enhanced’ outside of the rules, after last weekends victory.

Football : Twist in the ‘Hulk case’ leads to resignation of Hermínio Loureiro from the League of Clubs.

If anyone else can oblige with the translation of any of the ‘blank’ or sparsely filled headlines, or other news stories, here is the link. All contributions much appreciated. 

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BTW – Someone sent me an email today, one of those supposedly funny ones, titled ‘How to tell male and female birds apart [without a close inspection]. It used these two Madeiran Gaivotas to illustrate the point. I am not sure I really understood the joke, and I certainly didn’t find it at all amusing, but I thought I had better warn people that it is going around. Der

Finally, from me at least, going back a few days, there was a controversial article on the website of a Welsh newspaper, which has prompted at least 3 blog readers to comment that the article is inaccurate. The article practically claimed we suffered an event of Haiti proportions last month, and that it was necessary to flee Madeira. Have a look! and maybe also comment HERE

Update from Sheila : Alone in the garden of an empty Garajau apartment, this dog is dying from neglect. The Police know about this; SPAD knows about this and many of us know about this. Attempts to trace the owner of the dog are being made, even by the President of SPAD, Sr. Goncalo Santos himself. He told me over the telephone yesterday: "I cannot break into private property to save a dog". The English tourists, who have been staying in the flat next door to the dog, have been trying to lower water and food over the wall down to the animal. Tomorrow, these visitors are returning to the U.K. Then the plight of this dog will become even more desperate.

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If you can, please contribute something Madeira related. A funny story or good or bad experience, a news item, or a story from a Madeira newspaper, a teaser, news of a bargain flight or item in a supermarket. Please help keep this blog going … without user contributions it won’t survive. Please don’t send in automatic translations (like Google translator) without checking them through and correcting them first, thanks.

You can email blog@madeira4u.com with any large contributions and other material.

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Election day snippets ; Porto Santo ran dry ; The Diario 133 years ago ; French invasion Monday

TODAY’S PHOTOS : Thanks to Selina … "This is a view of the Sea front Marina, just after the rains had finished at 1.30 pm on Sunday afternoon (4th October). The sun had just come out and everything was drying up. The area was mostly deserted, the entrance by the tunnel was closed again due to a small rockfall. We walked along the marina to view the huge amount of water cascading down in the waterfall, behind the marina buildings. The car parking at the far side was under water, resembling a very large swimming pool".

madeira news blog 1009 selina lugar de baixo waterfall

 

 

 madeira news blog 1009 selina lugar de baixo marina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lord of The Rocks is continued with today’s instalment – "Flip Rocks".

Read on dear reader if you dare……

The Saturday sun rose orange above the green lands – Flip and Robin looked North to the bad lands and, saddened by the gathering orange dust cloud of Percy’s bad men gathering to fight them (a little bit) looked a right angle to the West – to Percy’s seat. It was huge and worth many swiggles and had many places to sit in the great palaces that Percy had had built – some for him, his family and some (empty) just to get the swiggles from the European Union….

"Flip" said Flip and Robin (hood) winked……"we can’t fight them this way, for they are too many, I have a cunning plan……."

And so it was that Flip and Robin spent all the day travelling up and down the secret steps deep into the ground where the FlipFloppers stone lay, buried and hidden from Percy. They carried away many many precious stones (and rather nice pieces of precious metals as well) from the stone but their task was huge…..they needed help. And so it was that Flip secretly summoned his "Just Poor People" friends and they also secretly began carrying away many many good bits of the stone, soon they had nearly all the people from the green lands helping and some also from the land of the Whales boyyo.

Flip and Robin handed out the good bits of stone (worth many swiggles) to all their peoples and by the rise of the not so orange sun on Sunday, everyone had a plenty and a promise of no longer being "Jolly Poor People" but "Justly Proud Participants" of the rule of their lands – they had more squiggles than even Percy!

And it came to pass that Percy did hear of this and he and his bad, greedy family and friends all rushed into their tunnel towards the stone to grab what they could……but so big was the hole left by Flip and Robin and the JPP that Percy and ALL fell headlong into and down the hole never ever to be seen ever again (promise)!

This of course left Flip and Robin to rule fairly over the Land of the (one less) Rock with a fair hand and heart and ALL the people of the lands lived happily ever after.

Ah, I think I am seeing a bit of a picture here, and it sounds like today is an important day!

"We are also thinking of stopping at Porto Santo, when we leave Funchal.  Porto Santo is the other inhabited island of the Arquipelago Madeira.  The Arquipelago is made up of five islands but only two Madeira and Porto Santo are inhabited.  Porto Santo is known for its long white sandy beach.  Not counting tours, there are less than 3,000 people on the island". If you have been following the voyage of the Resolution, this is the next short episode of the captains (b)log. What happened to the other 2,000 people on Porto Santo though? RESOLUTION

The gym at Ribeira Brava has introduced two new classes, and as a promotion they are free to attend during October.

1. Kickboxing – Mondays 7.30 pm

2. Indoor Cycle ? – Tuesdays & Fridays 8 pm

I am off to do my duty very soon. The PS gets my vote today, as they gave me the most goodies (baseball cap, pen, pencil and notepad), although I really did want the oven mitts, I have managed to forgive that oversight now. The BE left block came a close second choice, having the catchiest campaign song, but I think that would be an even more wasted vote anyway. DD (democracy day) has come at last, or will Unc. Bertie have his henchmen out with big sticks. I will let you know if I see any.

Porto Santo is all out of petrol. A breakdown in the main filling station has meant that excess demand had drained all the petrol elsewhere. The Portugal Airforce has already started an operation to provide petrol to the island. The petrol station with the breakdown cannot be fixed until Monday. I can think of more disastrous scenarios I must admit, after all, apart from emergency situations, it wouldn’t do anyone any harm to to a bit of walking on a Sunday.

I received an email from someone who lives on Madeira on last night asking me to send them money to help them out of a ‘desperate situation’. It looked like a hoax, and it turned out to be just that. Apparently many hotmail accounts have been hacked, allowing crooks to use the email accounts of innocent people to try and con the contacts in their address book.

UPDATES :

You can probably guess the big front page story today, especially if you followed the football yesterday. Cristiano Ronaldo promised a goal, and went off injured instead, but the team went on to win despite an inconsistent performance. Portugal 3 Hungary 0. They need to win against Malta on Wednesday to stay in 2nd place in the group and reach the play-off games for next years World Cup.

Also in football, Mitchell Van der Gaag has been confirmed as coach for Marítimo and his duties with Marítimo B have been given to Nélson Caldeira.

The main political story is of course the elections today : Madeira Elects 772 Councillors – They are in play in the organs of local power regarding the 11 regions of Madeira and the 54 freguesias (parishes), the president of the republic appealed for the vote. Cavaco Silva made a national broadcast on TV yesterday evening to try and get people out to vote today.

And finally from me : News in Black and White. The Diário newspaper completes 133 years in service today, and the Sunday magazine with today’s printed edition travels back to look at the newspaper in 1876. These days we are accustomed to around 50 pages a day, filled with photographs and information graphics, signed texts, interviews, letters from readers, cases of the day, colourful advertising media and then of course there is the online edition. Back in the old days it was a huge buzz caused by four-page black and white offering with no pictures or authors, produced without much graphical care or  design rules. No pictures it says, but just browsing through the news stories from 133 years ago one caught my eye about a lady in Santa Luzia who had just given birth to a very very  noisy stroppy baby, who threw all his toys out of his wooden wheel-less pram at the slightest little thing, and could insult all and sundry within range within just a few hours of being born. It’s not easy to read such old text, but let me see … yes I think his name was Alberto João Cardoso Gonçalves Jardim. Anyone ever noticed that Santa is an anagram of another rather scary word?

Yesterday’s news stories, courtesy of Elaine in Garajau :

MADEIRA NOT READY TO HAVE A EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF CULTURE. The Secretary of Education and Culture admits that Madeira is not yet ready to enter an application for the award.

DENUNCIATION OF CHEATING IN ALBUQUERQUE. The Communist candidate for Funchal stated that the council had announced eleven times the redevelopment of Pico dos Barcelos, and promised four green spaces/parks in Santo Antonio, but none created. "If Dr. Miguel Albuquerque participated in a film of Pinoccio, his nose would have grown so much that it would not fit on the screen."

‘FUGITIVO’ CASE WHICH ACCUSES 2 PSP OFFICERS OF ACCEPTING BRIBES POSTPONED UNTIL 9 DECEMBER. 12 defendants from a raid on a nightclub in 2006. Found ‘waitresses’ and ‘dancers’ appearing to be acting as prostitutes. The 2 PSP officers are accused of accepting VIP treatment at the nightclub for passing on information about raids. The 72 year old Brazilian ringleader, his 58 year old brother and other workers at the club are charged with various illegal activities including arranged marriages to Portuguese women. The women involved at the nightclub were Brazilian, some illegally immigrated.  

TWO ACCIDENTS YESTERDAY (FRIDAY) CAUSED LONG QUEUES ON HIGHWAY. Two accidents on the Santa Cruz/Funchal road. In the first one, a 33 year old woman had to be cut free from her Ford, which is to be scrapped, but she was released from hospital in the afternoon. She changed lanes without warning and a Ferrari driver from behind could not take avoiding action. His car will cost a few thousand to repair. –The commentators in the newspaper are not sympathetic to the Ferrari driver – excess speed? 

STUDENTS GIVEN TIPS FOR FLIGHTS PRICES. Students flying between Madeira and Lisbon can save money by booking in advance, booking directly via the websites of SATA, TAP and Easyjet rather than through travel agents, and a small change in date/time can make a difference. So instead of 400 Euros, the cheapest prices were for SATA 73 Euros, TAP 95 Euros and Easyjet 121 Euros, between 14-17 December and return 7-10 January.

PRAZERES GALLERY HAS FIRST ANNIVERSARY. The gallery in front of the Quinta Pedagogia has had 20,552 visitors to 11 exhibitions.

 

 

 

 

MSC ‘FANTASIA’ OFFERS CRUISES FROM FUNCHAL. November 23 and 4 December a 11 night cruise costs from 1380 Euros and a port fee of 130 Euros. A 6 day cruise on the 15 December costs from 878 Euros. An offer for an accompanying passenger.

MADEIRA TOURISM CHARM 170 FRENCH ON MONDAY. To coincide with the arrival of the low-cost carrier, the Tourism Office will host a two day tour of the island for French tour operators, tourism representatives, travel agents and media. They will have a welcome cocktail, dinner, trips to the Famers’ Market, wine lodges, Monte, walks, rides, jeep safaris and dolphin watching trips.

MILLENNIUM BCP WILL OPEN SATURDAYS. This bank will open on Saturdays from today. Anadia branch 9.30 to 13.30.

… and today’s too … thanks Elaine :

Quinta do Lorde resort promoted in England and France. 99 apartments and 23 single houses for sale. Already promoted in Madeira, promotion in England to begin in November through Savilles Estate Agency in London, then Glasgow in February and Manchester in September. They are betting on selling to the UK market as there is a strong English tourism base. They are using Savilles which have an exclusive clientele. Also promoted on the web sites of the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times and Financial Times. It will then be promoted in December at the Cannes International Luxury Travel Market fair, which is only open to ‘VIP buyers’, who have to be able to prove that they have a certain income and lifestyle to visit it. Later promotions in Sweden, Finland and Denmark. They still do not know when the resort will be finished and  realise that now is a difficult time to sell. —Another half-sold development?

Eco Line occupancy rate has tripled. To reduce mobility needs, traffic congestion and accidents in Funchal, energy consumption and pollution, the Eco Line buses have been made free since the 1 September and their usage has tripled. There already is one Green Line bus (no 1) running between Piornais and the city centre and the Funchal Bus Company is buying more buses (hybrid technology or electrical) to run one every seven minutes. This is part of the CIVITAS project, involving the council, Technology and Science Park and Energy and Environment Agency. They are still surveying the usage of  buses in order to plan a better service.

Fraudulent PSP e-mails. These e-mails, purporting to come from the police, are still being issued and the police are getting about 50 enquiries a week. These notify the recipient that they are required to attend a court hearing but the attached file contains a ‘phishing’ message.

Condominium Management Companies more competent. The Bureau of the ACIF Business Condo has eight members which represent 50 – 60% of the sector. There is a draft law to be debated, which has been designed over the last three years, to regulate the industry. The management firms often have problems with 20 – 30% of the owners and recovering debt by litigation is expensive and lengthy, so a last resort.

Young people want more time with parents. Lack of love, values and dialogue, summarises more than 3,500 people aged between 12 and 21, enrolled in the Youth Service at Bom Jesus Health Centre, Funchal. These are from dysfunctional families which now occur in all sectors of society. The parents do not have time for them, no family meals and no joint activities. This service is run by a 24-strong multidisciplinary team, including 4 doctors, 8 nurses, 3 psychologists and a nutritionist, who promote healthy lifestyle and less risky behaviour. Last year they started three new projects, for pregnant teenagers, eating disorders and sexually-transmitted diseases. They next want to be able to monitor health of pre-adolescent 10 to 13 year olds. —Unfortunately, sign of the times.

SPAD requests the inclusion of  animals in the declaration of IRS. At yesterday’s  Blessing of the Animals ceremony in Funchal Municipal Park, there was much barking, with a few dogs but no cats. The SPAD (equivalent of the PDSA) representative wants the cost of pets to be deductable in tax returns.

 

 

Best way to book travel? It has been thought that Travel Agents might disappear because of increased use of internet booking, but the cheapest deal might not always be the best, mainly due to the conditions and limitations of the cheaper tickets. Travel agents often have agreements with airlines so they can offer good rates not seen on websites, and the service charge pays for them and security as the agents do not receive commission. It is easier to book a holiday package through a travel agent, and they build up knowledge over time so can advise. WTTC-affiliated agents are more secure.

Voting complaints. In Sao Roque do Faial, a complaint about PS propaganda leaflets near the ballot box (illegal). Also several complaints about the politically-known arranging transport to polling stations (influence?).

—–I noted that last night at the Santana Theme Park OCM concert, they also erected screens for those wanting to watch the football match.

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If you can, please contribute something Madeira related. A funny story or experience, a news item, or a story from a Madeira newspaper, a photo or video, a teaser, news of a bargain flight or item in a supermarket. Please help keep this blog going … without user contributions it won’t survive. 

You can email blog@madeira4u.com with any large contributions or comments and photos / videos, or if you can contribute regularly, I can give you a special account that allows you to create your own blog postings.
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Monte Train & Green Line Get Green Light ; Docking Problems ; TAP Strike Disruptions

(23rd September). ‘Green Line Inaugurated – Two buses operate the route between the Electricity Museum and Piornais’. In the first phase of the new ‘Linha Verde’ in Funchal, the buses will run every half hour until the end of October. In November eight more eco-friendly vehicles will join the team, and the service will then run every 7 minutes. The buses comply with European rules and it is possible to reduce pollution by 80%. I thought the new buses might be different in appearance, or in colour at least, but the feature on last nights TV news showed what looked like the usual yellow buses with a green window sticker. Great initiative though.

‘Port Doesn’t Have Conditions To Welcome Mega Yachts’. A mega yacht, ‘One More Toy’, coming from Gibraltar on Monday was forced to drop anchor in Funchal bay, after an attempt to moor in the port failed, even though the harbour area itself was almost empty. The attempt to moor was "completely frustrated by a lack of technical conditions", as it is necessary to remove fenders placed in the area, which will damage the hulls of mega yachts. Access to the pier for the crew is also complicated, because much depends on the height of the tide, which can make crew departure / access dangerous. The inadequate effort made for a port of this kind does "absolutely nothing for the image of the region", and many of the skippers choose not to return to Funchal, going to other ports of the Azores or Canary Islands instead. ‘One More Toy’ was eventually able to dock properly yesterday morning. It only stopped here just for refuelling en route to the Caribbean. 

‘ACIF Presents SOLGEST’. The chamber of commerce of Funchal presents tomorrow at 9.30 am, in the Electricity Museum, a programme of optimisation of energy consumption for the hotel industry of Madeira. The initiative is co-sponsored by the European Economic Area through the EEA Grants Fund, and is open to all our hotel owners. The central objective is to implement a concept of continuous local monitoring, with centralised analysis of the data, ultimately identifying areas for intervention and savings opportunities leading to reductions in costs and energy consumption. The initiative involves a team of expert consultants in technology intervention.

(22nd September). ‘Saga Holidays Distinguishes Monte Mar – The Hotel of Ponta Delgada continues in the ‘top ten’ of the units of European brochures’. The Monte Mar Palace, in Ponta Delgada on the north coast, returned this year amongst the ten most desirable hotels by the customers of UK tour operator Saga Holidays, in its brochure for Europe and the Mediterranean. It is a fact that since almost the day of the opening of the hotel in 2003, it has received the best reviews from the British operators, who awarded it its first distinction of ‘Top Stay ‘in 2004, after just a year of operation. Some brits like it so much, they spend 3 months alternating between there and elsewhere. Saga holidays are only available to those aged 50 and over.

‘Funchal Port Is Number 28 In Europe’. In terms of the number of passenger movements, Funchal is the 28th busiest in Europe, but last year dropped 3 places in the world(?) rankings. In what is termed the ‘Iberic’ ports Funchal occupies 6th place. Lisbon, which last year robbed Funchal of first place in national ports, is now 60th in the world ranking, and 27th in Europe. The busiest cruise port in the world is Miami, with 4.13 million passengers. Barcelona is the biggest cruise destination in Europe with 2.06 million passengers. 

‘TAP Secures Half Of The Flights To Madeira On The Days Of The Strike – Pilots of the flagship airline company on strike Thursday and Friday’. The administration of Portugal’s favourite airline have guaranteed that at least four of the eight flights on each of the two days of the strike will take place. A spokesman for TAP advises that any passengers due to fly on those two days check the situation before travelling to the airport. The pilots are striking over a pay demand.

(21st September). ‘Monte Train Returns – The project has a budget of €6.5 million’. The works haven’t started yet, but the Monte train project is a certainty. Once the land is obtained (by expropriation / compulsory purchase) and the works that will take 18 months to complete, it should be open in less than two years time. A spokesman for the various stakeholders said it is a good initiative uniting public and private input that will benefit Madeira. The train will run the same course of the original route, but only between stations at Largo da Fonte in Monte and Terreiro da Luta. The old train will be will be replaced by a modern funicular, similar in appearance, with room for 60 passengers. The expropriation process has already started.

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