By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
FIFTY years after it last trundled through Palma, the new Palma to Arenal tram service is due to start operating within the next four years.
Palma city council is adamant that the light train service is vital for the future of the city and work on phase one of the 300 million euro transport project is expected to start in the second half of next year.

The tram will run from the new Parc de Ses Estaciones public transport hub in the Plaza d'España, along the Avenidas to the Paseo Maritimo and then along to Arenal.

Palma city councillor for transport, Joaquin Rodriguez, who has just returned from a trip to Switzerland and France to study a number of tram services, said yesterday that the trams will run every four minutes and that project designers forecast that the light railway will carry 15 million passengers a year along the 12 kilometre route.

The tram project received an important boost this week when it was included in the railway development and investment package agreed between the Balearic and central government.

The Balearic director general for transport, Antoni Verger, said yesterday that, as part of the agreement, the Balearics will be asking for 600 million euros of state aid for the railway and half of that is going to be invested in the tram.

The launch of the tram will lead to a complete re-organisation of Palma's EMT public bus service. The city authorities are confident that the tram will help to improve the bus service and the possibility of a tram link to the airport is still on the table.

Once Majorca's railway expansion project has been complete with the new links to Alcudia and Arta running, a tram link into Palma's central station could completely revolutionise travel for residents and tourists in Majorca.

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