THE SFM, the Majorcan Railway Company, is investigating a series of breakdowns which have hit the service since May 19, when the new line to Manacor was opened. The trains ran on a provisional basis for the first two weeks, but normal service started on June 1.
However, the service has been hit by problems and SFM sources admitted yesterday that this was causing concern.
José Antonio Santos, the company manager, has ordered an investigation and the results should be announced within the next few days.
Sources said that the new stations and the increase in activity had been taken into account when drawing up the new timetables, but at the moment, nobody can explain the reasons for the delay. “There does not seem to be an apparent reason,” the sources said. In the meantime, the company is continuing to investigate the complaints by commuters.
Passengers claim that the company is repeatedly failing to stick to the time table with delays of up to 30 minutes and overcrowding, particularly at weekends. Passengers have also complained that the air conditioning on several trains had broken down, coinciding with the hottest days of the year and adding to passenger discomfort. Regular travellers point out that the number of stops between Palma and Marratxi has been increased but this does not seem to have been taken into account by the planners and is contributing to the delays. The company, however, denies this, saying that the extra stops have been taken into account.
It is not only the passengers who are complaining. Some workers have alleged that safety conditions are not all they should be since the line was extended to Manacor. They claim that their working day is too long, which could lead to a lack of concentration. They also claim that they are having to work double shifts because of lack of qualified staff. But the company manager denied this, saying that safety regulations were followed to the letter. He claimed that safety had been increased since the service was expanded on June 1. The outgoing government invested heavily on the railway in an effort to cut down ro ad congestion.