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STAFF REPORTER TOURISTS and non Palma residents have to pay 14 percent more for their bus ticket in the city after new rates came into force yesterday. A one way single ticket now costs 1.25 euros compared to 1.10 euros.

Palma residents are entitled to a Citizens' Card which will mean they are not so badly hit but fares have still increased even for them.
Citizens' Card holders will have to pay 0.65 instead of 0.46 euros for a single bus trip (a rise of 41 percent), but buying journeys “in bulk” will mean some savings. They will be able to buy 20 tickets for a cost of 10 euros which will have to be used within a month; 23 euros will buy 50 journeys which again will have to be used within the same period and 27 euros will buy an unlimited amount of journeys within the month.

Passengers will have the added benefit of being able to get connecting buses to get to their final destination all on the price of one ticket providing that they finish their journey within a space of 90 minutes.

University students are fortunate that they will continue paying 0.31 euros for each journey with their card whilst pensioners will pay 0.15 euros, and those with large numbers in the family 0.20 euros. For the first time, free travel will be granted to school children up to and including the age of 16. A card entitling non-Palma residents to 10 journeys on the EMT service - with no time limit can be purchased at tobacconists. For those using the Number 1 service to and from the airport who are not resident in Palma, the cost of a single journey will be up to 2.00 euros but will be much cheaper for those who are living in the city - particularly students who pay only 0.70 euros for the trip.

The new tariffs for using the municipal bus service were given the green light by the Balearic government last February and are based on the principle that the more the bus routes are used, the cheaper it becomes. The move is part of a wider strategy to get people to leave their cars at home and let someone else do the driving.

Meanwhile, 14 new buses came into operation in the capital yesterday and five new routes will be up and running over this month, April and May. Buses will now be providing public transport to the suburbs of Son Hugo, Parc Bit (the recycling and technology park), Sant Jordi (east of Palma), a connection will run between the Llevant industrial estate and its counterpart at Can Valero, as will one from the Playa de Palma to the airport. This will eradicate the need to get a bus in to the centre of the city and then another one out to the airport.

Credit can be added to the Citizens Cards at tobacconists, some stationers, and at special recharging machines at main EMT bus stops and at the municipal bus service offices.