Jaén has finally mothballed its tram system, which cost the city 120 million euros, never carried a paying passenger, and in fact, never ever started running past initial trials.
And nobody has lost their job, or even been censored. Amazing, isn´t it?
It took a decade to build it, ripping up streets and laying lines through the city. It was finally finished in 2011, and the PSOE / IU run city council started running tests, and announced, in the most idiotic decision ever, that it would be “free for all”. Hey, the Commies at IU had decided that this was a special infrastructure which should be free for all citizens. In its first week of trials, one tram hit a car (pictured above), and another almost ran a person over. For God’s sake, it was only running for a week! Imagine if it were going all year round!
Anyway, the company which had won the contract to run the system promptly pulled out, leaving the system a wreck. They weren’t going to work for free.
And then the opposition took the decision to run it for free to the courts, and obtained a judicial order which stated that it couldn’t be free for all, as it would be a waste of public money and force the buses and taxis off the streets.
The system was mothballed pending a rethink and the consortium running it went bankrupt, so couldn´t be reinstated. Shortly afterwards, somebody stole all the artificial grass that had been laid around the tracks in a daring midnight raid. It was never found nor replaced.
In Feb 2012, the new PP run council signed an accord with Ferrocariles de Catalunya to run the tram. The accord was eventually broken as conditions couldn’t be negotiated.
Not one to allow little things like the breaking of a contract put him off his stride, the Mayor of Jaen still went ahead the following week with the ceremonial handing over of the keys and cutting of the ribbon, along with bigwigs from the Junta de Andalucia. Not surprisingly, citizens booed them off the stage.
Nothing else has happened since then. The trams sit, mothballed, in a warehouse. The line is falling apart as nobody is being paid to maintain the system. And last month, the townhall admitted it wouldn’t be able to find the cash to sign any contract to get it up and running.
Meaning the town has spent 120 million euros on something that has never, ever, carried a paying passenger, and which is mouldering away.
Meanwhile, over Christmas, Melón Tajá en Mano, a local production company has created a webseries of investigate documentaries trying to find out how the money was spent and why it was abandoned. And to see if they can force some citizen justice on the prats who signed the cheques.
Check it out here: http://tranviacrucis.com/ . It’s good. Here’s the first episode: