Madrid may not have tourist buses until June as dispute continues
The Governing Board of the City of Madrid has approved the new model contract for the service of bus sightseeing tours, but this service will not start until next June unless the townhall manages to obtain the vehicles which used to carry tourists through the town.
At a press conference after the Board meeting, the Mayor of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon, estimated that the processing of this contract will last “five months” so that “about next June, if not resolved before the conflict, Madrid will have tour buses again. ”
He recalled that the City has made a request to the old concessionaire of the service, Madrid Vision, to return the buses, and has warned that “if the request is not answered in the affirmative, judicial action will be immediate” but admitted the townhall will not know for a couple of weeks if the buses will be returned.
Tourist buses in the capital city were run by a public / private partnership called Madrid Vision. However, the townhall has cancelled the permits of Madrid Vision after claiming that the company owes the city over 4 million euros in unpaid taxes. The company says the accusations are groundless, and that it will take the city to court over the permit removal. The company has refused to return the tourist buses saying that they are owned by the company, not the city; Madrid claims that the buses were only leased by the company and are actually owned by the city.
If the company delivers the vehicles, even on an interim basis, until the consistory disposes of those buses, the City Council would provide the service until a new contract is awarded, said the mayor.
Gallardón has said that the municipal government with the new contract aims to increase service quality, ensure a minimum of vehicles, expanding routes and frequency of buses, an adaptation of the City’s corporate image and improve the marketing and sale ticketing and customer service.
The approved contract includes a “very moderate” increase in ticket prices and royalty rates, unlike the previous one, which was a fixed 1.5% of gross revenues with annual adjustments, with a fixed part of 1,050,000 per year and over variable each year: 3.5% of gross annual turnover if it does not exceed 9 million euros, and 4.5% of gross annual turnover if it exceeds 9 million euros.
According to the mayor, setting a flat fee, complementary to the variable, allows the Administration to obtain a minimum level of income consistent with the estimated turnover of the service.