The House plenum rejected on Friday, with 25 votes against and 23 for, the regulations providing for personalised car licence plates. The bill, discussed by the House transport committee, was to allow car owners to acquire personalised licence plates through auction. The owner of such a plate was to be allowed to use it on […]
The proposed road from Paphos to Polis, in its current form, is a financially unviable project and a waste of taxpayer money, Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides said, rejecting suggestions that the matter was not within his remit.
“Our service reiterates the position that construction of the project in question, in its current form, constitutes squandering of public money, on the basis of a decision that clashes with the acceptable and legally prescribed review and selection procedures,” Michaelides said in a statement issued on Thursday.
It followed the cabinet’s rejection of the audit service’s view that the proposed Paphos to Polis road was a waste of money in the current form.
“That is our view, which we have every right to express since auditing public spending falls under the hardest core of our constitutionally guaranteed powers,” the auditor said.
“We also express regret about the fact that, as we have been informed by the finance minister yesterday, during its September 13, 2017, session the cabinet judged our reports to be beyond our remit.”
It was noteworthy, according to the auditor, that during times when there was no legal framework guiding the selection and advancement of investment projects, the audit service was recommending reducing the cost within logical levels – 2005 to 2012 — without any suggestion from the government that it was not within its remit.
In his report, the auditor said the reason the project was not sustainable was the decision to effectively construct a motorway when it was not justified by the traffic data.
The annual average daily traffic in 2014 was 6,801 vehicles per day, with August of the same year recording the highest.
On August 15, a national holiday, 10,944 vehicles used the road, the report said. Ten days later officials counted 830 vehicles at 6pm, the highest hourly traffic. The average during the month was around 9,000 vehicles per day.
The current plan is for a two-lane road, which however, will have the geometrical characteristics of a motorway.
The public works department’s standards for a two-lane road provides for an average 13,000 vehicles per day whereas the respective standard for motorways is 41,000, the auditor said.
“This is part of a bigger plan providing that in the future, (not specified when) the complete project will be constructed at a cost of €260m (current prices) that will include a four-lane motorway,” the report said.
Taxpayers were currently looking at a cost of between €68m and €81.5m, depending on which version the state would go with.
The audit service had pointed out to the finance minister that building a two-lane road with the geometric characteristics of a motorway meant using parameters fit for the latter.
That, in turn, meant a higher cost of construction, especially in higher areas as was the case, and made the road less safe because it would encourage motorists to drive at higher speeds.
“Based on all the above, we expressed the view that the minister, exercising the powers granted to him by the framework law and acting in a lawful manner as he ought to, should reject the project without delay and ask the public works department to review the issue so that the project becomes financially viable.”
Speaking to ACTIVE radio on Friday, Communications Minister Marios Demetriades said the proposed legislation included more frequent checks to ensure elderly drivers fulfilled a
The proposal has become even more timely, the minister noted, in light of Thursday’s hit-and-run incident which has seen a 76-year-old man remanded in custody on suspicion of hitting a cyclist and fleeing the scene. The cyclist, 33-year-old Panagiotis Hadjinikolas from Zakaki, was killed.
The House, Demetriades also revealed is, in addition, reviewing another law on cyclists.
This legislation, he said, aimed to better protect cyclists while also setting out exactly how they should behave on the road.
“This legislation was submitted to the House months ago,” Demetriades said, adding he believed it should be approved as soon as possible “to be able to provide cyclist safety through the law”.
number of criteria.
The government’s Road Safety Council had last called for a study on the issue to be prepared since it is widely if not officially acknowledged that the police already generally turn a blind eye to drivers on the highway speeding at up to 120km/h since all the country’s highways have at least two lanes of traffic.
The Public Works Department is still working on the report which will feature the opinions of all the relevant stakeholders but Phileleftheros on Tuesday reported that the Department itself as well as the police have already indicted they are against the idea.
The Public Works Department has raised objections noting that the highways were designed and constructed based on specific criteria taking into account that cars would be travelling at no more than 100km/h. Raising the speed limit would lead to the need for changes to the points of entrance into and exit from the highway, the Department says.
The police, meanwhile, are concerned a higher speed limit will encourage drivers to reach even higher speeds as they expect the same room for leeway they currently enjoy.
The Traffic Police note that Cyprus has amongst the safest highways in Europe with less than five fatalities per year and say changing the speed limit will make them far more perilous.
The highway entrance at Kornos is badly designed, as the Ministry of Transport itself acknowledges, making it highly dangerous.
The entrance lane drivers from Kornos must use to merge into the highway is only 50 metres long, making it nearly impossible to gain the necessary speed to enter the 100 kilometre per hour highway.
In addition, it does not give the opportunity to drivers occupying the left lane to move to the right lane, thus allowing the Kornos drivers to enter the left lane.
As a result, the Kornos drivers are either forced to drive on the side of the highway until the left lane is freed, or they must take a chance to merge onto the highway without being up to speed, endangering themselves and other drivers.
The case was reported by a shareholder in a Nicosia-based insurance company who sent a letter on Thursday to police saying he discovered that claims had been filed over the past decade for cars owned by the company that had been allegedly damaged either in road accidents or by malicious acts. The claims concern the company’s own cars in Paphos.
The man told police that after further enquiries, he learned from people using the cars for which claims had been filed and paid out by the company, that they were never involved in any road accidents.
Driving theory tests at the Road Transport Department (RTD) could soon be conducted on computers by private companies.
There is expressed interest by multiple parties while KEVE (Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry) has already requested to meet with RTD officials to present its own opinions.
The RTD has also publicised its intention to move ahead with a tender for private companies to take over the conducting of theoretical examinations.
The private company which will take over these examinations and will collect a fee directly from those taking the test. The largest allowed fee will be specified in the bill, and the fee is expected to be significantly lower than that paid today.
According to the draft bill which was put for discussion in parliament, the maximum fee will be €30 of which €3 will go to the government as administrative fees. Furthermore, €4.31 will be collected by the government as VAT, leaving €22.69 per examinee to the private company.
The company which wins the tender must have at least one examination centre in each urban area: Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, Paralimni. The examinations will take place in these centres, with the company issuing a certificate and exchanging information with the RTD system.
The RTD is aiming to eventually expand the computer examinations to all driving licence tests including bus drivers and taxi drivers.
The total investment needed to conduct examinations via computers for five years is €2.5 million, or €500,000 annually.
The RTD says that approximately 23,000 driving theory tests for drivers are conducted each year.
In 2015, 23,309 theoretical examinations took place, while in 2016 the number was 23,314.
With the computerised examinations, the RTD’s driving examiners will significantly increase their available time for practical examinations, leading to better service for those looking for dates for their practical examinations.
Vehicle owners who pay quarterly or six-month road tax licences that expire at the end of June, will be able to renew them as of July 1, it was announced on Wednesday. Road tax will be payable, without extra charge, until September 8, 2017 at any bank, citizens’ service centre, district post office, district office […]
Source: Road tax reminder – Cyprus Mail
In a strange new twist, a man arrested last month for pretending to be a taxi driver has called the head of the road transport department posing as the chief of police in an attempt to get his licence back. The 38-year-old man was arrested in Limassol in April in connection with extortion and theft […]