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Vélez-Málaga's tram service stopped in 2012 E. Cabezas
Costa del Sol town to consult residents over future of tram
Axarquía

Costa del Sol town to consult residents over future of tram

Mayor of Vélez-Málaga Jesús Lupiáñez puts the amount of municipal funds that would have to be provided to re-establish the service at five million euros, despite having secured 3.7 million in European funding

Eugenio Cabezas

Thursday, 16 May 2024, 09:39

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Twelve years after it was pulled from service, Vélez-Málaga town hall on the eastern Costa del Sol has decided to hold a public consultation on whether or not to re-establish the town’s tram service. It ran from October 2006 and June 2012 and involved a public investment of more than 40 million euros, financed entirely by Andalucía’s regional government.

After Spain’s central government has granted an extension of one year, until December 2025, to use 3.7 million euros of European funds, granted in 2022, the mayor of Vélez, Jesús Lupiáñez, said on Wednesday 15 May that to replace the tram system the town hall would have to find a further five million euros.

"We have many other needs in the municipality, sanitation, asphalting or lighting, so we believe that it is time to reactivate a council agreement that was adopted in 2016 to consult the residents on whether or not to resume the tram at this time," Lupiáñez said in statements to Cadena Ser radio in the Axarquía.

Damages

Lupiáñez said that the town hall is looking at the consultation options and that it could be carried out in the coming weeks. "We are evaluating the tools and we hope to launch it very soon.”

According to the data provided by Lupiáñez, to the 3.7 million euros of European Next Generation funds granted, the town hall would have to contribute 1.27 million to complete the first phase of the work to repair the damaged infrastructure. After twelve years without any maintenance or surveillance it has become the target of vandalism.

For the second phase Lupiáñez admitted, "We are not in a position to allocate five million to the tramway.” However, he said that depending on the result of the public consultation, one possibility is to modify the terms of the funding and adapt it for the purchase of more sustainable electric or hybrid vehicles.

The mayor also recalled that in 2016 a report by the Junta de Andalucía recommended replacing the three tram units for other smaller ones. "We are studying this possibility because it seems that there would be interest in our units from other Andalusian tram systems,” said Lupiáñez, who added that the town hall will claim damages from transport company Alsa for lack of maintenance of the tram depots since 2012.

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