By Andria Kades
The 42 community leaders affected by the days-old dispute between OSEL and shareholder Tasos Michaelides will head to the transport ministry on Monday to speak to minister Marios Demetriades.
Their decision, following a meeting on Saturday, has them intent getting Demetriades, who they say bears responsibility for the problem, to resolve the issue by Monday.
For almost a week certain OSEL routes were not operated, with people stranded and students missing school after Michaelides blocked the Arediou terminal on Sunday with 26 buses and parked another 24 outside the presidential palace.
All the buses outside the presidential palace were towed away by Tuesday night however the ones at Arediou have not been moved despite a court order to gain access to the buses being served on Saturday.
This is because according to OSEL the buses had incurred damage and could not move. In their statement on Saturday morning OSEL said “initial checks on the buses with the help of specialists from the manufacturer’s representative showed that buses have undergone a series of malicious damage that seem on first sight to have immobilised the buses and created a serious security issue for drivers and passengers.”
According to Michaelides however this is an outright lie. Speaking to the Cyprus Mail he alleged that a mechanic at the scene had removed components from the vehicles and said they couldn’t start.
The shareholder then got his own man on the scene who repaired the problem and moved the bus from the entrance without a problem.
Apparently the scene was eventful as the company chairman, flanked by a police officer and men of the underworld read out the court order to Michaelides, his three underage children and their uncle at 3am.
There was also a bulldozer at the station without any number plates, Michaelides told the Cyprus Mail.
“When I told the officer there needs to be a report about this bulldozer that doesn’t have number plates, the driver, who had his face covered because he had pulled his shirt up, began to drive off. In the process he hit me on the shoulder and my son’s foot, who we had to take to the hospital to receive first aid.”
Police spokesman Andreas Angelides told the Cyprus Mail the complaint was being investigated and the son at the hospital had irritations on his left leg. He could not confirm whether Michaelides’ account of the incident was accurate nor if there were people of the underworld present but stressed that police’s role in the affair was purely to maintain order.
Speaking on state radio OSEL general manager Andreas Athanasiades maintained that their promise to get buses operating by Tuesday is not hampered by the early morning developments.
“The goal remains the same because we want to serve the public even if we use buses from third parties. This creates a lot of problems and a lot more work for us but this is not important. We will try to return all the routes on Tuesday.”
Following the company line he said “the buses are not in very good condition. There are problems as far as starting them and moving them are concerned – which was what we tried to do this morning.
“It seems however that there are more problems that deal with the electrical components of the buses and other matters we have not managed to narrow down. The point however is that we cannot use them.”
Asked what purpose the OSEL would have to lie about the buses not operating, Michaelides maintains that the company has been making a mockery of the public with their promises that operations will resume as normal on Tuesday.
“They are making false promises about Tuesday,” however the shareholder claims he has an ace up his sleeve his is not yet divulging.
“The truth will be confirmed within the next few days,” he said.
Athanasiades said that as of Monday student routes will operate normally, the full service would run by Tuesday and damaged buses would only operate once they pass all inspections.