Free public transport. | Jaume Morey


The other day I was a pundit on a Spanish radio programme discussing free public transport in Mallorca and its impact. Overall, I said that I thought it was a great idea but the plan had failed. On the plus side the number of people using public transport in Palma has doubled but on the negative side local roads are still gridlocked and the summer season and all its hire cars has still not arrived. It is a question of nice idea, shame it didn't work. So what can the local authorities do to overcome all the traffic problems? Well there are two simple answers - either more roads are built including a second ring-road around Palma or the local authorities introduce strict new guidelines to reduce traffic.

Both are simple decisions but they would probably cause more trouble than they are really worth and I doubt that any political party on the island would take up any of the two options. It would be political suicide. So really we have to go through the motions with half measures such as free public transport and other headline- grabbing schemes that don't work. But we must remember that the island has a traffic problem that still hasn't been resolved. Enter the Palma city council; their plans to reform the Paseo Maritimo mean dispensing with two lanes. It is a nice idea but it will lead to traffic gridlock even more than at the moment. Really, it is not a good idea to scrap roads when we are still having pressing traffic issues. In the future Mallorca will have to take bold action. But for now the car is king and the public bus or train is a nice sideshow even if it is free and that is the simple truth. The traffic plan is quite simply gridlocked.