by Staff Reporter

PALMA
BIEL Vicens, the Balearic minister of mobility, said yesterday that the previous Partido Popular (PP) government headed by Jaume Matas had been “irresponsible” in opening the metro, because of deficiencies which led to the flooding of various stations on Tuesday.

He was speaking after the regular government meeting and was accompanied by spokeswoman Margarita Nájera.
Vicens listed the deficiencies detected in the metro caused by Tuesday's rain, according to a report by the Majorcan Railway Service (SFM).
He said that the metro had been opened too hastily and “after an insufficient trial period.” The station of Son Fuster Vell is still closed and Vicens said it would remain closed until it could be guaranteed that there would be no more flooding.

Water at this station reached a height of up to two metres, pouring in down the stairwell, ventilation shafts and emergency exists, and, because it was at the bottom of a slope, it received the rain which had flooded other stations along the line.

Vicens went on to say that the electricity was cut off at 6am, and the emergency generators at the University station were brought into service, but they were overloaded and broke down at 9.40am. Electricity was restored at 12.30pm, although by that time the government had decided not to renew the service that day for safety reasons.

The SFM is investigating the causes of the power failure which could have been caused by water entering a hole made to introduce a fibre optic cable, or a failure in the GESA connection, or a combination of both factors.

Vicens stressed that there had been no risks to the public but he found it “unacceptable” that 20-odd passengers should be trapped at the Son Sardina station for an hour, after the entrance to the station was flooded because the pumps installed to extract the water were not connected to the emergency system.

The lifts and escalators in various stations also broke down because of the flooding.
Vicens claimed that fast action by the government prevented a repetition of the situation on Wednesday when it also rained heavily in Palma.
Vicens said that many of the deficiencies had been corrected, but others, of a structural nature, will take some time to correct. The SFM will now evaluate the situation of the nine metro stations in depth.

A legal team will also look into who is responsible for the repairs, the government or the construction company.
Vicens said that the government wanted to give prestige to the metro as a means of transport, and is convinced that it can “provide a good service,” but, he added, “it must be safe.” Earlier, Miquel Ramis, the PP spokesman in the Balearics, had denied that the previous government had rushed the opening of the metro because of the proximity of the regional elections.

He accused the new government of “magnifying” the deficiencies detected in some stations to “punish” the infrastructures promoted by the PP. He added it was “logical” for some deficiencies to be found in a new work.

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