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DECO launches portal for public transport complaints

Consumer watchdog DECO has launched an online portal where people can complain about Portugal’s public transport services, and sign a bill demanding more rights for passengers.

Speaking to Lusa news agency, legal expert Carla Varela said “delays, cancellations, fewer routes and schedules and high ticket prices” are common complaints passengers often don’t put in writing due to a “lack of an easy, accessible and efficient complaints mechanism”.

Varela added that many passengers are “unaware of their rights, and believe their ticket price is too low to complain and that public transport companies don’t even have any special obligations to their passengers”.

The new portal, www.queixasdostransportes.com, promotes a bill that can be signed by anyone calling for more passenger rights.

Varela told Lusa that there are “loopholes and inefficiencies” in national and community law regulating the sector “that need to be addressed”.

Passengers must have a right to “a quality transport service” and should, under no circumstance, be discriminated against, she explained.

Assistance should also be provided to passengers when needed, and refunds should be given when transport services are late or cancelled.

Finally, people with disabilities and mobility problems should be granted “special protection”.

DECO’s announcement comes days after Prime Minister António Costa encouraged Portuguese keen to escape the effects of the new budget to “take more public transport, stop smoking and reduce credit”. (click here)

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com