THE Palma Metro has adapted its rolling stock to make room for four bicycles to be carried in each of its carriages. Three seats have been taken out of each and four wheel clamps installed at a cost of nearly 50'000 euros.
Speaking at the presentation of the new installations yesterday, Transport director Antoni Verger said that the facility for four bicycles a carriage had been available since 18th May but if the demand for them increase, then the government will look at the possibility of providing more.
Verger said that folding bikes won't need the clamps either on the Metro or the overland train service and can be carried freely at all times. But for the owners of ordinary bicycles, he added, the clamps provide safety and security, preventing sudden movement which could cause injury.
He explained that the move to accommodate bicycles on the Metro originated in a call that has long been made by a Public Consumer group which has complained that the facility had been made available in other cities of Spain but not in Palma. Verger said that it had been a mistake not to incorporate bicycle stand installations in the carriages of the Metro, hence the government's recent modification of the rolling stock.
We want to raise the profile of the bicycle as a means of public transport, explained Verger, adding that enabling the public to travel with their bicycles on the Metro also encouraged people to combine one means of public transport with another.
More than 8'000 public bicycles, reminded Verger, are available to borrow at the stations in Palma, Inca, Manacor and at the Balearic University.
Tomas Balaguer, spokesman for the Public Consumer group which has backed the promotion of bicycle clamps on the Metro, said yesterday that his members would like to see an even higher profile given to the use of the bicycle in the city to mirror the success of projects already launched in Barcelona. Balaguer said that there should be bicycle lanes in suburbs of Palma where as yet there are none.