Politician Mendes Bota has raised the issue of the Algarve train line with the government and has asked for answers as to why this essential transportation resource now resembles something from the “third world”.
The Algarve politician, known for his outspoken views, wrote an open letter to the Portuguese government and to the Ministry of the Economy in which he asked what the plans for the Algarve railway line were to be able to modernise and bring up to date the stations and the services offered along the line.
Mendes Bota asks what investment is planned for the Algarve railway over the next three years and what actions are intended by the Portuguese government in relation to the Algarve railway line.
In the open letter Mendes Bota also challenges the policy makers in Portugal, train users, Algarve residents, the National Rail Network and CP, the Portuguese Trains company to all have a closer look at the Algarve railway line and to be honest about what they see and the service that it offers for the region.
Mendes Bota said: “This cannot be stressed enough, the situation of the railway stations and stops in the Algarve are shameful for the region as a whole. It feels like being in the third world.”
He added that Portugal “can not afford to make the railway line in the Algarve become a wound in the landscape of the region.”
Some of the biggest problems with the Algarve railway are identified by Mendes Bota as being the amount of litter, difficulties in accessibility, poor signage at stations, closed public toilets and difficult access to the stations themselves.
“The stations in the Algarve have no conditions to work well and without conditions there is no credibility.
“Without credibility you lose customers and without customers we run the risk of losing an entire economic matrix which for decades has promoted the region and was built to strengthen the Algarve not to weaken it.”
The Algarve railway has in the past been a vital link for the entire length of the Algarve. The line runs from Lagos to Vila Real de Santo António and allows the easy movement of people, both tourists and residents, across the region.
Mendes Bota acknowledged the importance of the railway line in keeping the people of the Algarve connected all the way along the coast but he also admitted that finding for a project to upgrade the Algarve railway would be difficult during these financially lean times for the Portuguese government.
He said: “Unfortunately, the financial situation which has led to a shortage of funds across the country does not bode well for any packages of investment in public transport.
“Significant investment is required to be able to reverse the situation of decline within the public transport sector in the Algarve.”