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The ultra-modern tram system of Santa Cruz celebrates its first birthday today. The 21-stop link between Santa Cruz and La Laguna commenced on 2nd June 2007 and has carried over two million passengers since then.

It took 7 years to transfer the initial project from the drawing board to reality, as well as three years of actual road works, which caused the biggest ever traffic congestions for both cities and an uproar by taxi drivers claiming their living was being destroyed.

The tram system is a huge success and now few dispute the benefits brought by the tram, which is used by almost 50,000 people every day.

A one-month trial offering free wi-fi access to tram users is currently underway
The scheme is a joint project involving the Canary Islands Research, Society and Innovation Agency and Vodafone.

Four trams have been fitted with 3G broadband wi-fi routers initially, and it is planned to convert the rest of the fleet if the trial proves popular with the customers.

Work on a second tram line is under way and plans are being made to extend the existing one as far as Tenerife North Airport within a few years.

During the past two weeks new radar traps in Santa Cruz have monitored a total of 6,926 vehicles. From those 327 vehicles have been recorded breaking the speed limit in the following places:-Avenida de Anaga (82); Carretera general del Sur – TF-28, (74); the motorway between Santa Cruz and La Laguna via Calle Panamá (60); Avenida de La Constitución (53); the Carretera general del Sur in El Chorrillo (30) and Avenida Hespérides (13).

The penalty for exceeding the 60km limit in build up areas, or 80km on inter-city roads, can be a jail sentence of up to six months, or a fine plus up to 90 days community service and a driving ban of up to 4 years. These strict new laws were passed last December.

Giant cruise ship docks in Santa Cruz

Posted by dolly diver on May 12, 2008
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The world’s biggest 14-storey cruise liner, The Independence of the Seas, which was recently-christened jewel in the crown of the Royal Caribbean fleet, made its first ever stop in Tenerife and docked in Santa Cruz on Saturday with 3600 passengers on board and a crew of just over 1000 from 75 different companies.

A special reception was held in Santa Cruz to mark the ship’s maiden visit. The Captain said that the Canaries will feature prominently in the liner’s cruises for at least the next two years.

The liner then called into Las Palmas on Sunday before heading across to Lanzarote and up to Portugal.

Articulated lorry ploughs into cars in Santa Cruz

Posted by dolly diver on May 12, 2008
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The dangers of the steep main road into Santa Cruz were once again in evidence on Saturday morning when an articulated lorry ploughed into cars waiting at traffic lights on the Avenida Manuel Hermoso.

The 32-year-old driver told police his brakes had failed as he drove down the steep access road. The lorry crashed into five cars, totally destroying one of them, but miraculously only one person was seriously injured, a 35-year-old Bolivian who suffered a serious head trauma. He was transferred to Our Lady of Candelaria Hospital, along with another six people who were suffering minor injuries and shock.

Santa Cruz council said afterwards that the large articulated lorry should not have been using the lane at the time, a rule the driver was unaware of. Later examination of the vehicle’s tachograph revealed the driver had not been speeding, nor was the vehicle overloaded, but Police have charged the driver with dangerous driving.

Police said if the accident had happened on a busy week day, the consequences could have been far worse.

Several years ago a special slip road had to be built on the motorway into the capital to give lorries a safety spot in case of brake failure.

Train first then tunnel

Posted by dolly diver on April 24, 2008
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The Tenerife Cabildo has announced that plans for a tunnel to link La Orotava with the other side of Tenerife are not a realistic prospect for at least 10 years.

Speculation has grown over the recent months that an enormous project to build the tunnel was about to be announced.

The corporation insists that the tunnel will not be even be in the first stages of planning until other projects such as the train from Santa Cruz to Playa de Las Américas are completed.

Price falls of between 2% and 6% have been seen, especially in the South.

Value It, the Santa Ursula based publisher of The Tenerife Property Price Guide, today releases the results of its survey of Tenerife property prices, showing falls in prices for the three regions of Tenerife, (the South and South East, the North, and the Metropolitan region).

During the last six months, property prices have fallen by 3,48% in the South and South East (from Candelaria around the coast to Santiago del Teide). In the North, prices have fallen the least, by 2,64%, and in the Metropolitan region (Santa Cruz, La Laguna, El Rosario and Tegueste) prices have fallen by 3,27%. When general inflation is taken into account (2,1% over the last six months) the real falls are 5.6% in the South, 4,7% in the North and 5,4% in the Metropolitan region.

John Gardner of Value It commented: “These are averages for these regions, and are based upon a survey of 6250 properties for sale. Within each region there have been greater falls in some areas and for certain property types, and a few areas are level with inflation or still seeing prices rise.

Puerto de la Cruz has seen falls below the average for example, while the falls in Adeje are consistent with the southern region as a whole. The answer for people looking to buy in Tenerife is thorough research and knowing the pricing trends in the areas and for the property types. There is no substitute if you want to buy well and protect your investment. For those thinking of selling they can work out what would be a good or competitive price to ensure that they attract serious buyers”.

Santa Cruz square – reopening delayed yet again

Posted by dolly diver on April 24, 2008
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Once again construction work on the new main square in Santa Cruz has been delayed.

The local Cabildo admitted that the deadline of 30th April has had to be put back yet again, after more delays in the completion of the project.

The Cabildo, back in February, announced that the renovation of the Plaza de España would be finished by 17 March, although it immediately rectified and changed the date to 30 April.

It now looks as if the square, which has a giant lake in the middle, will not be opened to the public until late June or early July.

The corporation has also admitted a cost overrun of €4 million, 25% of the original cost.

An oil tanker, built in the 1970’s and banned from EU waters for not having passed official safety inspections, has been allowed to refuel in the port of Santa Cruz, according to Port Authorities.

The ship, named Blue Ice, is a small tanker of about 90 metres in length and registered Saint Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean.

It was refused entry into the European Union after faults were detected during a series of inspections, although the Government sources have not revealed the exact nature of the defects. However, Blue Ice received authorisation to dock in Santa Cruz because it was low on fuel and it was deemed preferable to allow it to stay and refuel rather than it be left to drift.

The National Police supervised the tanker’s refuelling operation which took around 2 hours. The ship did not appear to be carrying any cargo.

After a number of high profile disasters off the coasts of Europe involving older single-skinned tankers, new regulations were introduced. Oil tankers are now required to have a second, inner skin which adds extra protection against an oil spill in the event of a collision.

The Canarian Government has expressed its surprise that the independent authorities were not informed. Its sources state that whilst they recognise that responsibility lies with the State, the Canary Islands were recently declared a “Zona Marítima Especialmente Sensible” (Special Maritime Area) by the International Maritime Organisation. They say they will therefore appeal to Capitanía Marítima (Marine Headquarters) – headed by the Ministry of Development – for more information on the matter.

Chuck Berry to rock Tenerife

Posted by dolly diver on March 25, 2008
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Chuck Berry
Father of Rock n’ Roll in Santa Cruz on 28th March

Living rock and roll legend Chuck Berry will be performing live at the Palacio de Deportes in Santa Cruz de Tenerife on 28th March. Tickets cost €25 and €45 euros.

According to music critics, Chuck Berry is the most important and influential songwriter of the rock and roll era. An accomplished showman, he created his own original style, gave rock and roll a following and became known as “The Father of Rock and Roll”. Between 1955 and 1959, he recorded over one hundred songs, which became major hits and in the 1960s and 1970s, Berry’s music was the inspiration for groups like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and many others.

Chuck Berry’s career includes classic tunes that have made musical history such as “Roll Over Beethoven”, “Too Much Monkey Business” and “No Money Down”.

Buy tickets online.

Yacht race to set off from Tenerife

Posted by dolly diver on November 24, 2007
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A fleet of nine beautiful yachts are currently berthed in Santa Cruz as they prepare to battle it out in the Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2007 on Monday.

Crews from Great Britain, Barbados, Canada, Germany, Italy, Norway and Monaco will attend a range of parties and other festive activities to celebrate the beginning of their 3,000-mile journey.

Between nine and 15 people crew each vessel, with each preparing to battle what organisers describe as “incredibly varied and challenging wind and sea conditions” as they make their way across the Atlanic Ocean to the Carribean island of St Maarten.