Island Travel Costs More ; Ponta Delgada In Focus ; Azores Want More ; Political Debates

(30th August). Today’s main news story : ‘Inter-Island Voyages More Expensive In The Region – To travel by plane between the islands of Madeira costs triple that in the Azores and the Canaries. Airport taxes also penalise the connection between Madeira and Porto Santo’. The Diário conducted a study in the three locations mentioned, about the cost of inter island travel, by air and sea. The conclusion is that mile for mile, the good people of Madeira pay more, and one of the main reasons is the direct government subsidies given (or not given). Cheaper fuel prices and economies of scale also play a part, as well as airport taxes. One of the conclusions is that inter-island travel in the Azores, by sea, costs €0.07 per mile, whilst here it costs €1.20 per mile. By air it costs on SATA between the Azores €3.50 per minute of air travel, whilst here the comparative cost is €9.60 per minute, charged by the same airline. In the Canary Islands the state subsidises residents by almost 60%, the Azores by 25%. Nothing for Madeirans, although those who live on Porto Santo do have an entitlement of 35% discount. It’s a long article, but if anyone wants to know more the two charts on these links sum it up MADEIRA TRAVEL MADEIRA TRAVEL 2

All people suffer from post-holiday syndrome on returning to work and their routines – Syndrome is "a longer version of the sensation that people feel Sunday night, having to return to work". Fatigue, concentration problems, and irritability, are symptoms that experts associate with the post-holiday syndrome, which this time of year affects those who, after a rest period, have to return to work and the routine of everyday life. Many according to a report are suffering from anxiety. An expert on the subject recommends an easing back into the routines, by going to bed early and getting up earlier, and anything else that helps readjust the routines more gradually. I guess that day then for many is tomorrow?

‘Engineer Rui Vieira Died – The agronomist and politician was aged 83’. He was the first director of the Jardim Botânico (Botanic Gardens) of Funchal, and a Euro MP for the CDS / PP. He died yesterday of cancer. 

Today’s sports headline, in football again : ‘Real Madrid Win (3 – 2) With A Goal From Ronaldo – The Madeiran put away a penalty to score one of the goals of the victory of the ‘merengues’ in the start of the Spanish league’.

‘Ponta Delgada Waiting A Civic Centre – With the festival ‘at the door’, it is clear also that it lacks a public bathroom in the centre of the parish’. This sounds like one of those gripping local features that I thought had disappeared a few weeks ago. It has a nice photo of a petrol station / cafe, and a few local men going about their business on the front page of today’s newspaper, but I couldn’t copy that, so we have a scenic view instead. Aside from the WC, it seems that Ponta Delgada has just about everything except adequate parking, and having it’s own petrol station is indeed a great privilege. Aside from that it has it’s own multibanco (ATM), post office, pharmacy, and even a swimming complex. The civic centre was promised to the people ten years ago. As for life there, there is a small drug problem, but mostly out of sight, but people continue to feel safe in the parish. Next weekend is the festa of Bom Jesus, that is one of the most popular and well attended on Madeira, and that is one of the reasons so many people complained about the lack of a public toilet. Like everywhere else here, the youngsters don’t want to work the land their families worked for generations.

‘Funchal Câmara Doesn’t Back Down On The Projects Of Clean Public Transport – President Miguel Albuquerque  assures that the ‘Eco Line’ and the ‘Green Line’ will not affect the taxis’. Despite the opposition of the taxi drivers, Funchal Council will not back down on the projects for environmentally friendly public transport. Eco Line goes into free travel on Tuesday, and September 22nd sees the start up of the Green Line, which connects Praia Formosa Beach to the city centre. The president of CMF believes that the controversy with the taxi drivers is being fed and used by politicians on the eve of elections. As regards to the Green Line, which replaces the various existing buses, Albuquerque states that it will not be free travel, and what changes is that the new buses are environmentally friendly.

‘The president of the Azores, Carlos César, argued yesterday that the Portuguese autonomous regions can not be treated equally by the state – Madeira to Porto Santo is 40 miles, but Santa Maria to Corvo is over 600 miles’. He directed his speech at the elections of 27th September, and to support the re-election of José Sócrates, Prime Minister. In his view, the Government of the Republic can not "treat in the same way things that are different," noting that the Azores are composed of nine islands and Madeira of just two. So the Azores should be entitled to a "positive discrimination" within the Regional Finance Law, which determines the amount of money that comes from the state to the autonomous regions. In other words he argues that the Azores should receive more state money than Madeira. That reality, according to the PS president, "the PSD and Manuela Ferreira Leite (party leader) have not understood" accusing the Social Democrats of wishing to change the calculations of transfers from the islands so as to "harm the Azores". "It is therefore crucial and fundamental to the Azores that the PS and José Sócrates win in the elections of 27th September", he appealed.


Following the earlier story about the new environmentally friendly buses in Funchal, the council has said it wants to take out out the hotel coaches / buses that frequent Avenida do Mar, and encourage tourists to take the new ‘Green Line’ buses instead. The idea is to reduce congestion along the Avenida and the Estrada Monumental, by taking out the coaches which often carry very few passengers. That means tourists will have to pay for transport in and out of downtown Funchal.

‘RTP-M Interviews 12 Candidates In 12 Days’. The TV station of Madeira has decided to interview the 12 main candidates from the political parties that are standing in the national legislative elections on 27th September. The first one starts on Tuesday, and they will be shown after the 9 pm news. Each candidate or party representative will be given around 30 minutes to express their ideas and positions to the Madeira public. The channel is also considering having debates, but nothing is decided yet.

The final front page article today has a photo that makes no sense at all : ‘Ministers Come To Support Bernardo – A circuit of lectures will include a minister and several secretaries of state’. The objective is to discuss "key areas for the Region" with Bernardo Trindade, the socialist candidate for the parliament, as part of a set of initiatives that will take place from 7th September. He has invited several members of central government to take part, as well as other personalities from Madeira. "The aim is to trigger thought and discussion, and seek to decentralize initiatives," says Bernardo Trindade. The first lecture is scheduled for September 7th in Santa Cruz, and will be dedicated to the environment and spatial planning. The roadshow then goes to Câmara de Lobos (8th), Funchal (10th), administrative simplification will be the subject on 12th, then to Ponta do Sol (14th) to discuss agriculture, and then Machico to discuss employment. Porto Santo will be the venue to discuss tourism and transport on the 16th, with a final lecture still to be arranged on the 18th to discuss policies for autonomy.

‘Sócrates Against Social Security Proposed By The PSD’. The prime minister and secretary general of the Socialist Party, José Sócrates, said yesterday in Faro that he disagrees with Social Security based on "every man for himself", and criticized the social democrats for defending the capping of the Portuguese Social Security, as outlined in its prospectus presented to the public on Thursday. He said what was being proposed certainly means the "privatisation" of part of Social Security, and it would be "a bad decision for the country".

A very thin newspaper today, so that’s it for now. With the holiday season over tomorrow, perhaps there might be a few more journalists on duty.

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