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Minibus co-op claims discrimination

The Executive Transport Co-Op yesterday filed a judicial protest in the First Hall of the Civil Court claiming it was being discriminated against by the authorities.

The protest was filed against the Minister for Urban Development and Roads and the Malta Transport Authority (ADT).

The Co-Op, which represented a number of public service garages, claimed in its protest that the red minibuses were receiving preferential treatment to the detriment of the Co-Op.

In fact, the red minibuses, which had the same technical specifications as those of the Co-Op, were being allowed to carry more passengers. At times the Co-Op's minibuses were of the same make as the red mini-buses.

As a result, the Co-Op's minibuses would no longer be as competitive as the red minibuses, which were their direct competitors, as the latter were being given a seating advantage.

Furthermore, the Co-Op's members were bound to have a garage in order to obtain a licence as a public service garage while this condition was not being imposed on the red minibuses whose owners were therefore saved the expense.

According to the Co-Op, the ADT had imposed the installation of a barrier on the Co-Op's minibuses but not on the red minibuses. If the barrier was imposed for safety reasons, then this obligation ought to apply to all minibuses.

The Co-Op declared it had entered into negotiations with the ADT and had even prepared a position paper with a list of its complaints. However, to date it had not received any reply.

All this, the Co-op said, constituted discrimination against it in violation of the European Convention of Human Rights and added that there was no legitimate scope for this discriminatory treatment, nor was it justified.

It formally protested against respondents and called upon them to immediately halt this discrimination, holding them liable in damages.

Dr Edward Zammit Lewis and Dr Michael Camilleri signed the protest.

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