TWELVE buses powered by natural gas are to start operating in Palma from the start of next year.
The liquid gas needed to power the vehicles will be imported from the mainland until the opening of a gas pipeline from Valencia to Ibiza and Majorca.
Palma Council's Director General of Transport, Francisco Donate, made the announcement during a seminar on “Transport and the Environment” held in the Balearic capital yesterday. Donate, referring to the still low use of public transport in the city, said that 71 percent of journeys in the area within the Via Cintura were made in private cars. Outside the Via Cintura, this figure rises to 87 percent.

He said that only 12 percent of journeys in the first zone were made using public transport, while only 10 percent of journeys in the zone were made using public transport.

He said that the number of private car journeys had doubled since 1992 from 400'000 to 800'000 a day.
On the other hand, the amount of taxi licences in Palma hasn't changed since 1983 (1'246), though the population has doubled in recent years.
The amount of rental cars on the island, meanwhile, has risen from 20'000 in 1992 to 65'000 in 2007.
Meanwhile, the amount of schoolbuses has decreased by 65, which, according to Donate, means an extra 4'000 car journeys a day. Donate said that the council intended to take radical action on school transport.