Staff Reporter
A SINGLE ticket enabling travellers to journey with both the Majorcan railway company SFM and the Palma bus service, the EMT, will become a reality at the end of next year. The project has been confirmed by Mabel Cabrer, Balearic Minister for Public Works and Transport, and by Alvaro Gijón, deputy Mayor in charge of transport and president of the bus company. The minister explained that the main difficulty for setting up a single ticket for bus and train users in Palma is the necessity to use a computer technology that is compatible to the administration systems of both organisations. “It isn't easy”, she declared.
Current practice is that many public bus users pay for their journeys using “electronic” citizen cards, the tarjeta ciudadana which is passed through a machine on entering the bus. The process makes a deduction from the amount of credit stored on the card. To date, however, the railway services maintain a manual checking of season tickets and multi-journey cards.
Gijón confirmed that “a newly designed card would have to be brought into use to cover both train and bus journeys.
According to the head of the municipal bus company, “the objective would be that train users would be able to change to the buses to go in and out of Palma”. In spite of the fact that the agreement and the climate of collaboration between Palma city council and the Railway Service are quite positive, and that the negotiations to create the single ticket are at quite an advanced stage, the head of the bus company said “we still haven't spoken about tariffs”. Gijón believes that future users of the single train and bus ticket who come from outside Palma, will have to assume the cost of public transport in Palma without benefitting from the discounts that the city council makes available to local residents. In his opinion, if a passenger wants to secure a reduced price, the local council of the traveller's registered home town should shoulder the responsibility, or, if it feels so inclined, the Balearic government could subsidise the project. In any event, it's a question of waiting until the understanding between Palma city council, the transport companies, and the majority of the Island municipalities involved (many of them under the jurisdiction of the ruling Popular Party), makes it possible to arrive at an agreement. Running parallel to the introduction of the single ticket, the idea of a transport consortium is being explored.
This consortium, which would be made up of the city council and regional government, would model its approach on the example of other European capitals, and would form the backbone of transport in the Balearics. The SFM already has a single ticket for its shuttle service which takes passengers from outlying towns and villages to the nearest train station. It is part of the government's efforts to reduce the number of cars on the road.

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