Traveling to some towns in the northeast of the Community has become an odyssey. crowded buses, standing passengers on country roadsFrequent failures due to lack of maintenance…
Users of lines 271, 272 and 275 have been complaining for months about the situation of the buses that connect Alcal de Henares with municipalities in this region such as Pezuela de las Torres, Pioz, Santos de la Humosa and Villalbilla.
In addition to the poor condition of the buses, they circulate through narrow roads with dangerous sections with many elevation changes and without speed bumps.
The alarms went off in the middle of last June when a woman died and a 7-year-old girl was seriously injured after crashing the car in which they were both traveling against a bus intercity on the M-235 highway, in the municipality of Los Santos de la Humosa, on the border with Guadalajara.
Firefighters freed the bus driver that had been trapped after the accident due to the strong impact and helped to get the other occupants out.
We have been denouncing the state of this road for some time, but the years go by and it continues as it is. It’s a danger. In the last accident, the driver of the car lost control and fell on top of the bus. That road does not have a hard shoulder and the bus was unable to avoid the crash. The driver was not wearing a seat belt because it is not mandatory for drivers. He pierced the bus window with his face and has lost part of his vision in one eye, complains Juan Antonio Balado, councilor for the United Left in the Pezuela de las Torres City Council.
In his opinion, if the road had a hard shoulder the bus driver would have had more room to turn and would have been able to mitigate the severity of the impact.
This mayor has filed numerous complaints with the Regional Transport Consortium of the Community of Madrid for the defective provision of services made by the company Castromilbelonging to the Monbus Group, which is the concessionaire of the license.
‘”We are not merchandise”
The most common criticism is that the company uses urban buses as if they were intercity buses, which have fewer seats. This circumstance forces many passengers to go on foot in rush hour by country roads full of curves in sections of 40 minutes.
Both users and drivers themselves are afraid that one day a tragedy will happen. They are playing with people’s lives. We are not just another commodity: we are people. I do not allow anyone to play with my life. We have already had several accidents and one day we are going to have a misfortune, denounces Leopoldo Laborda, a resident of the town of Villalbilla who uses this transport on a daily basis.
According to his testimony, the buses that leave at rush hour in the morning sometimes carry more than 30 people standing up. We have to go like sardines in a can and we can not more. When the bus arrives, we all start pushing to get in. Sometimes they can’t even open the doors for more people to come in and they have to stay stranded at the stops. Every time there is a curve we all go to the other side. You are afraid that if something unforeseen appears on the road, the driver will miss the bus, he criticizes.
However, Laborda praises the expertise of the drivers running at half speed indicated to control the vehicle. We take twice as long because they go to 20 per hour, he added.
From the company they allege that these urban buses are only used on specific occasions and that they are authorized, since they comply with with all current safety regulations and with the revisions of the technical inspections of vehicles.
Another problem is the lack of maintenance of the buses, which causes frequent breakdowns and that the lines remain without service. Anything that can go wrong, goes wrong. If it rains, water falls inside. There are continuous delays because the buses break down, censors Juan Antonio Baldo.
Both this councilor and the users have repeatedly complained before the Transport Consortium, the area councils and the Castromil company itself so that they can try to improve the situation.
According to what they say, the Transport Consortium turns a deaf ear and has not taken any action against the company. As always, the Consortium does not take matters into its own hands and does not assume what is obvious: that the abandonment of buses by the company not only causes inconvenience and expense to customers, but on many occasions it is the origin of dangerous situations that one day may cost us dearly, says one of the complaints filed by Baldo with the agency.
The Consortium argues that it has no record of no fault complaint on these buses. In addition, it defends that the occupation of these vehicles is not very high, although I do admit that first thing in the morning in the Alcal direction or at the time of leaving the institutes about 46 travelers travel.
Meanwhile, the complaints of the residents accumulate without a change of attitude on the part of the company and the situation It’s getting more and more problematic. According to Balado, the company is cutting costs in maintenance and the level of the fleet is minimal.
buses are falling apart and every two by three they are in the workshop. Every 20 days we have a breakdown. Sometimes the bus overheats and the driver has to stop because the vehicle is overheated or gets out to water the engine, laments Laborda. When a breakdown occurs, the company has to temporarily suspend the service while it sends another bus from another line with the delay that this entails for the employees who have to go to work in Alcal de Henares or Madrid or the young people who have to go to the Institute.
The neighbors are very indignant and angry with this company. It is a very deficient service because they constantly use urban buses reclassified as interurban, which have neither the capacity nor the category to provide interurban service. What was once exceptional has become commonplace, concludes Laborda.
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