Wednesday, 15 October 2008

majorcan transport progress

The current seafront public transport option! This is Palma's route 52.

Typical bus loading off-peak.

Number 15 in Palma.

Palma's main station has now gone underground.

The authorities on Majorca have realised that the island needs to embrace rail to move forwards. At the moment there is a diesel worked line from Palma to Inca and Manacor. This is (currently) all that remains of a more extensive network - but restoration has already taken place between Inca and Manacor. There is also the (mainly) tourist route from Palma to Soller, and the tramway onwards to Port Soller. These two systems have adjacent terminals in Palma, off the Placa d'Espanya. There is also the newly opened metro line from Palma to the University.

But this is just the start. There are plans to build a route to Alcudia linking to a coastal light railway linking C'an Picafort and Puerto Pollensa. In the south there are proposals for another (more southerly) route linking Palma and Manacor, together with a metro line around the west of Palma.

Most interesting to us, as we've just returned from the area, is the advanced proposal for a tramway linking Palca d'Espanya to the airport and then on to the Playa de Palma and on to Arenal.

We used the buses to get from our hotel to Palma, and they were a nightmare. And this was in the off-peak low season! Many buses simply sailed through the bus stop showing a 'Bus Complet' board, meaning totally full. We waited in Palma for an hour and ten minutes for a bus back to Playa - all were full, and this on a route with a bus every ten minutes! And at three in the afternoon.

This is a sure sign of a route's viability for tram replacement! Trams handle far more passengers than buses ever can. There are plans to start building this line within a year. To me that's still too long!

After Peak Oil Majorca will, if these plans (and more) come to fruition, cope pretty well with the movement of freight and passengers in an energy-poor world. We may no longer be able to fly there, but hopefully in twenty year's time we'll be able to take the ferry from the mainland, pick up a tram at the port and reach every part of the island by sustainable transport.

Originally posted on Panther Bites!

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