<< New text box >>
The GNR is to run the last phase of Operation Hermes from Friday to Sunday with additional patrols and ‘support for holidaymakers’ on main roads.
The operation is intended to ensure safety on the main exit routes from popular vacation spots as the end of the summer holidays sees thousands returning from the Algarve to all points north and east.
Motorists are advised to consult all traffic information possible before setting off, such as SOS Trânsito on 808 201 855, and on the official GNR Facebook site, www.facebook.com/GuardaNacionalRepublicana.
During the first phase of the operation, which took place on the first weekend of July, seven people died as a result of car crashes, four more than in the same period in 2015. There were 25 seriously injured and 170 people suffering minor injuries in 530 accidents (21 fewer than the same weekend in 2015.
In the second phase, from 15 to 17 July, the GNR recorded 620 accidents, two deaths and 18 serious injuries.
In the third phase of the operation, the first weekend of August, the GNR registered four deaths, the same number as last year, 631 accidents (60 fewer), resulting in 13 serious injuries and 251 minor injuries.
In the fourth phase, which ran from 12 to 15 August, the GNR recorded three deaths, down from six and 926 accidents with 26 seriously injured.
The fifth and final phase of the operation closes on Sunday and travellers this weekend can expect a massive volume of vehicles on the roads after the busiest August holiday periods for at least ten years.
Algarve's Portimão racetrack bought by the government
AutodromePortugal Capital Ventures has notified the market of its purchase of Parkalgar Serviços, S.A. owner of the Portimão racetrack.
Portugal Capital Ventures, Sociedade de Capital de Risco, S.A. ('Portugal Ventures') normally invests in exciting high-tec start ups and is an operating arm of IAPMEI, a government investment department under the Ministry for the Economy that normally specialises in helping companies develop their business in Europe and Africa.
Portugal Capital Ventures has acquired sole control of the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve racetrack and is now awaiting the green light from the Competition Authority which is expected to be a formality. Normally the company invests no more than 49% in any business but in this case has assumed control. The company also, and more curiously, is to sign a lease agreement with Parkalgar - Parques Tecnológicos e Desportivos, S.A. which is likely to be the registered owner of the physical assets of land and buildings.
'Portugal Capital Ventures has acquired sole control of Parkalgar services, and in turn acquires sole control over a set of assets comprising a business located in Portimão,' according to the Competition Authority's website.
Portugal Capital Ventures normally invests in start up ventures involving innovative scientific and technological developments at early, mid, and late venture stages. Its purchase of this racetrack is far from the company's published terms of reference as the company normally invests in ventures with high growth potential and controls a minority of the share capital. It invests in expansion and development and provides capital for buyouts and it 'will only invest a maximum of 49.9 % of the total investment in any company,' according to its website.
The normal area of interest for Portugal Capital Ventures is in projects related to 'innovative areas, particularly in information technology, telecommunication, electronics, biotechnology, Internet, multimedia, life sciences, textiles and high technology,' not large racetracks.
Portugal Capital Ventures is controlled by IAPMEI, a government body that in turn comes under the control of the Portuguese Ministry of the Economy.
IAPMEI was established in response to a Portuguese government initiative to improve competitiveness in the Portuguese market. IAPMEI prefers to provide venture capital to improve companies' competitiveness in Europe and Portuguese speaking Africa, not Portimão.
This looks like the use of public funds to bail out a poorly managed business. In that Portugal Capital Ventures has no background at all in motor racing or property development it may be a government sponsored holding operation to save the racetrack from folding while an eventual owner is sought.
In November 2012 Parkalgar was saved from insolvency when the court in Portimão agreed a financial restructuring plan which provided for the cancellation of €40 million of its €160 million of accumulated debt in return for reducing various personnel costs and selling some asssets. The time limit to repay the smaller creditors was stretched into the distant future and Parkalgar said it would sell off unfinished apartments to repay some debt. This agreement was a feeble attempt but it bought some time.
BCP bank and autodrome builder Bemposta accounted for over two thirds of Parkalgar's debt when the rescue plan was rubber stamped in court and as they both agreed to the terms, it went ahead.
BCP bank of course was itself rescued by the government in 2012 using money taken from the country's bailout package, some €3 billion.
If BCP is getting its loans to Parkalgar paid off from this deal then the government is in fact refinancing BCP under the guise of a splendid deal for Portugal Capital Ventures.
So, the taxpayer bailed out the bank that bailed out the autodrome that has been bailed out by the taxpayer. Whether the new owner, that's the state and therefore the taxpayer, has bought the racetrack as a turn-around business with prospects, or has just engineered the rescue of a €120 million loan on behalf of BCP is a question that will no doubt be addressed in the days to come as the implications of this suspect deal are analysed.
The Algarve Surf and Marine Activities Association (ASMAA) said on Saturday the 19th of January 2013, that the Lagos council’s proposed reduction of the trading hours of all the establishments located in the Lagos council region could result in a 100M Euros loss to the city annually.
According to a press release issued this morning by the Association, as if the reduced trading hours were not enough, the council’s intention to make it compulsory for all nightlife operators to invest in costly noise/sound monitoring systems if they want to extend their trading hours by two hours is the final straw that broke the camel’s back.
ASMAA conducted extensive research and an investigation during the past four weeks in an endeavour to find the real reasons for the proposed amendments to current municipal by-laws, as it was clear from the beginning that other underlying motives had to be behind such a devastating policy change.
With the assistance of social media partners Agora Diz-se and Lagos Algarve, the local branch of minority party MPT, and many of our members as well as some private individuals, we have now reached the following conclusions:
A. What motivated the proposed change to trading hours?
To directly benefit FuturLagos and its new tenants.
1. FuturLagos is a company that is 100% owned by the Lagos Municipality.
2. FuturLagos is the entity responsible for the management of the parking garage located in the Avenida dos Descobrimentos.
3. FuturLagos is the parking garage landlord.
4. FuturLagos sold two 30-year concessions for two bars and are in the process of licensing a third concession.
It can be argued that FuturLagos is in direct competition with all landlords in Lagos, and is using its position, not only to influence changes to legislation but also to gain unfair advantages for itself and its tenants to detriment of all other businesses and landlords in the council area.
This is a blatant contravention of Article 101, of the EC Competition Act.
B. What motivated the proposed changes to noise/sound monitoring policies?
To directly benefit the acoustics company DBS Acoustica, a Lagos based company with identification number 508182883. Being a company in which the Lagos council’s Head of Audits and Inspections (Divisão de Fiscalização da Câmara de Lagos), Eng. Marisa Rosa Mestre da Palma is not only an appointed director, but also benefits from a 25% share of the company through her marriage in community of property to one of the company’s main shareholders.
It can be argued that Eng. Marisa will be in a position to manipulate negatively trading operations of any nightlife business that does not purchase equipment from a company in which she has a direct vested interest.
This is a clear case of blatant conflict of interest, which was not disclosed to affected parties.
As a result, ASMAA now demands the immediate dismissal of the Head of Audits and Inspections (Divisão de Fiscalização da Câmara de Lagos), Eng. Marisa Rosa Mestre da Palma.
As well the dismissal of the Mayor and any of the individuals that were directly involved in drafting the proposed amendments to trading hours.
ASMAA request that an investigation be conducted by the relevant authorities into the alleged misconduct and the apparent abuse of power.
Júlio Barroso, the Mayor of Lagos, today denied accusations of his trying to use hitherto ignored noise-control laws to encourage new bar concessions by the riverside, owned by the council.
At issue is a proposal by the council to close all city-centre bars at 24.00hrs on the grounds of controlling noise, while allowing its new bars to operate after this time.
The council is accused of wanting to "give the coup de grace" to the viability of Lagos’ famous nightlife, with the implementation of noise laws aimed at closing bars in the city-centre and promoting the new bars that will be licensed by the company Futurlagos to the financial advantage of the council.
According to the Partido da Terra (Earth Party) the council’s proposal is that the Lagos area will have "no bars operating after 24.00," with the exception of the new
bar concessions that are owned by the council’s own company.
Júlio Barroso explained that the location where the new bars are planned on the riverfront, is better able to accommodate nightlife "without prejudice to the right of residents to peace and quiet."
"The city council is more concerned with Lagos as a whole, not to mention the residents and their fundamental importance to the maintenance of life in the historic center, a town without an historic center has a dead center," said the mayor.
Júlio Barroso also said that the municipality has received some criticism and suggestions as to what to do with his proposal, adding that complaints and observations must be received by Saturday.
The proposal has caused a public online petition, "Save the Nightlife in Lagos", which this morning had in excess of 1,800 signatures.
In June 2012 the council approved the conditions for the operating licenses for the four riverfront sites with rents of €1,000 to €2,000 per month. The ingoing fee for the bars is €100,000.
On Tuesday morning (4 December) a number of UK channels were transferred to the new satellite at 28.2º east, Astra 2F. With this move, came concerns over a loss of channels for expats in countries like Portugal, especially after the loss of Channel 5 following the switch over.
For viewers outside the British Isles in mainland Europe, reception of certain channels currently on Astra 2A or 2B may change or be lost in certain areas after all the new satellites are operational, Astra 2 explained.
Astra admitted that there have been many "rumours" doing their rounds on the Internet, especially ones that overseas viewers would lose all their channels once these changes are complete.
For viewers in some areas of Europe, this may be true, Astra said, but added this depends on which spotbeam Sky decide to use for their channels.
There is no reason for Sky to opt for the UK spotbeam, their channels are encrypted and there are no copyright issues.
There are many expats who have legal subscriptions registered to a UK address, there are many British or Irish pubs and bars that have Sky Sports, these are all income for Sky.
It seems unlikely that Sky would want to lose this income, at this time there are no answers and no guarentees of future reception, Astra argued.
As for the main terrestrial broadcasters, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, these are going to use the UK spotbeam and already do on Astra 2D and Astra 1N.
"If you can already receive signals from these two satellites, then little is likely to change over the coming years", it said.
"Again there are no guarentees, the new satellites are the same type as Astra 1N and are almost certain to have similar spotbeams, only time will tell", it revealed in a statement.
Many free-to-air channels currently use Eutelsat 28A at 28.5° east, launched in 2001 it has an expected lifespan of twelve years, there is currently no information on whether this satellite is to be replaced. If not, then many will have to move to the new satellites.
The changeover resulted the following channels being moved: Channel Five (regions 1-5) 5 USA, 5 USA+1, 5*, 5*+1 and Channel Five +1 along with ITV One regions: Meridian North, Anglia West, Yorkshire East, Central South West, Yorkshire East +1 and ITV One London HD, ITV One regions: Central South, Central East, Wales +1, Tyne Tees North +1, West Country South West +1, Channel Four HD and 4 Seven.
Other Channel Four and BBC & ITV services are still on Astra 1N, which can be easily received on small dishes in much of Europe.
Astra 1N will close at 28.2º east within six to nine months and be moved to 19º east to serve mainland Europe.
Reception reports across Iberia are mixed, SkyinMadrid said.
A few regions: Madrid, Alicate, Murcia are better than they were a year ago under the old Astra 2D, but other places have much weaker signal.
Areas with poor reception reportedly include: Costa Del Sol, Barcelona, and most of Portugal, though no reports of reception disappearing have been reported.
There is a report from the Costa Del Sol which indicates dramatically lower signals.
This is in an area which previously could receive BBC & ITV on a 1.2 metre dish a year ago.
The remaining free channels which are still on Astra 1N are likely to move either in the New Year or in early summer.
But according to Astra2.org continental Europe will continue to be served, though they encouraged viewers thinking of purchasing new equipment to wait for further developments.
In the meantime, UK satelite installers and suppliers in Portugal have been inundated with calls from concerned viewers, but have admitted to playing the waiting game to see the extent of the damage caused by the switchover.
For more information, visit: http://www.astra2.org/astra2.html or satelite.co.uk
The introduction of electronic tolls (no pay booths) on the A22 Algarve Motorway, and other similar motorways in the north of Portugal has caused chaos, especially with visitors. Most people tell us they don't mind the tolls, but object to the method of payment, especially for foreign registered cars. The problem is quite simply that these roads were not built as toll roads, so they have no space to build toll booths and as a result, the system has to be fully automatic.
How it works: Toll payment is based on a small transponder which is linked to your Portuguese bank account, and debited within a day or two of every passage, which is fine if you are a resident with a Portuguese bank account.
The alternative is to pay your tolls at the Post Office or Pay Shop, which must be done within five days, but only after 48 hours have transpired. That's ok if you have a rent-a-car with Portuguese plates, but you cannot post-pay your tolls if you have foreign number plates. The official answer is "wait until we write to you at your address back home", the reality is that we don't know anyone (yet) who has received such a letter. So, if you are a visitor, how do you pay, where do you pay, what will it cost?
If you are a visitor, arriving at the Spanish Border in a foreign registered car
At the border on the A22 you will find an automatic vending machine (see photo above). Here you can rent a transponder by entering your car registration number and your credit card. On your return you can drop off your 'used' transponder at the last service station (Olhao) where you will get part of the original cost refunded less a small rental fee. All tolls will be charged to your credit card. Should the vending machine be busy, you can also rent a transponder at the first service area on the motorway (Olhao).
You can also rent a transponder at any Post Office and from Faro Airport (in the Post Office),
Cost: It will cost Euros 27.50 (refundable less the rental charge). It is valid for up to 90 says. The rental cost is Euros 6 for the first week, and Euros 1.5 a week thereafter. Tolls are charged to your credit card.
Pre Paid Passes: If you have a foreign registered car, there are alternative options. Option One: You can purchase a pre-paid pass, valid for 3 days from any Post Office (and they are very clued up on the whole situation). A three day pass costs Euros 20 for a normal car, and is for unlimited tolls along the whole motorway for the three (consecutive) days you specify. You can only purchase six of these passes every year. Pre Paid Airport trip. You can also buy a one way or return journey pre paid ticket for a trip to: Faro Airport (via A22). Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (Porto) (via A28/A41); or Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (via A41/A42) from any Post Office
Option Two is to purchase a five day pass, again from any Post Office, The cost is Euros 10 initially (or more), tolls must be pre-paid, so deposit enough to cover your expected journeys. As far as we can ascertain, you can only buy one of these, and you pay the normal toll charge, based on your journey. Refunds of unused tolls are possible, but we don't know anyone who has tried! You will get a receipt which you should display on your dashboard, and keep in a safe place thereafter. One reader has told us that he has been told that the unused part of his payment will be refunded to his Credit Card automatically once the toll road concessionaires have calculated what he has used in tolls.
Option Three (NEW).
Easy Toll & Toll Card (introduced July 2012). The new system features two methods of payment called ‘Easy Toll’ and ‘Toll Card’, developed by the national road company Estradas de Portugal in cooperation with the CTT postal service and electronic payment company UNICRE. Easy Toll is available at border crossings into Portugal featuring or near a former SCUT motorway; Vila Formoso (A25), Vila Real de Santo António (A22), Chaves (A24) and Vila Nova de Cerveira (EN13). Machines have been installed for users to pay tolls and staff are available to provide information. The Easy Toll system enables drivers of foreign registered vehicles to associate their number plate to a bank card for a period of up to one month, with toll charges being debited directly from their account. Toll Card meanwhile is a method whereby users can buy a card that is prepaid with five, ten, 20 or 40 euros, and can be activated and linked to a vehicle licence number by sending a text message. Toll cards can be bought online, at post offices and motorway services stations
Beneath you will find guidance on how to buy these passes online
If you are planning to use a Rent-a-Car at Faro Airport
The rent a car companies have been in 'consultation' with the government for several months, but a solution seems now to finally being implemented. Full details are in the article beneath (Solution to car hire toll chaos), but in principle, the major rent a car companies are now in the process of installing transponders in all their cars. You can rent one (optional) much as you might rent a satnav system, and pay the rental fee Euros 1.5 a day, plus the tolls, direct to the rent a car company at the end of your rental period.
Above, the charge made at each toll gate (see map above for location). Class 1 is a normal car, people carriers, jeeps etc are Class 2. You are charged the above fee 'sector by sector' so as you pass through you are charged. if you turn off before the next 'toll gate' there is no further charge
Which Rent a Car companies have already fitted transponders?
So far (12 April 2012) the companies who have already installed transponders on all their Faro Airport based cars are:
We will keep this list updated as more companies fit their fleets.
Algarve Auto Assist
Urb Pedra Alcada Lote 55A
Tel: 00351 916888402
skype 0113 8150077
N 37˚ 05.990̕
W 8˚ 41.284
If you are buying a car from us we automatically check all our used vehicles to make sure there is no finance or other charges registered against the vehicles we sell, but before you consider buying a Portuguese car from someone else we are offering a service to check the vehicle for you.
There is no HPI or Equifax system in Portugal as such you have to physically go to the relevant government office with the registration number to have the vehicle checked and they provide a print out with owner information and any debts or problems registered to the vehicle or let you know if the vehicle is "clean".
In Portugal if someone does not pay their income tax or any other debt the authorities can put a charge against a car to stop the owner from selling the vehicle but many people pay for cars first and realise the problem when it is too late !! Especially if you manage to find a Portuguese car in UK bring it here only to find out the car belongs to someone else.
We offer a service to do this for you at a cost of €50 which is a small amount to pay for peace of mind or stop you buying a car with problems!
This service is only available during work days and is not possible on Portuguese holidays as mentioned earlier we have to go to the office to get the information for you.
If you Require this service please pay €50 by PayPal with registration number to firstname.lastname@example.org we also need your email address so we can scan and send the information back to you. We will have the information within 24hrs.
Please note this service is for financial information only and is not a check for any accidents the vehicle may have had.
General info :
Also to be able to transfer a vehicle you need a signed transfer form (link)
http://www.irn.mj.pt/IRN/sections/irn/a_registral/servicos-externos-docs/impressos/automovel/impressos-de-registo-de a copy of registered keepers Id and a copy of Portuguese fiscal number and the same info for the buyer.
Or buy a car from us and all the paperwork and checks are done for you !
Please call Darren to make an appointment on 00351 916888402 or email email@example.com
Algarve Auto Assist has a new internet site
We look forward to welcoming you on our redesigned website!
Click here for the full story.