Palma is modernising its bus fleet. | Miquel A. Cañellas


Palma's EMT bus service is to get 95 new buses over the next three years. They will cost 30 million euros, 50% of which is to be financed by the European Investment Bank and the rest by banks with which the company is negotiating.

The green light from the EIB has allowed the bus operator to start the renewal process, notes mayor José Hila, who adds that a first batch of 31 buses will be delivered at the end of this year. The other 64 will be delivered in two blocks of 32 in 2018 and 2019. This purchasing constitutes a first phase of renewal.

The difficult part of the financing, observes Hila, has been getting money from the EIB. With this in place, discussions with other financial institutions become easier. The terms for the EIB finance require repayment over a maximum of 15 years.

Transport councillor Joan Ferrer says that specifications are being drawn up for the tender. The actual model of bus has yet to be decided, but they will be longer vehicles than at present (18 rather than 12 metres). This will give 35% increased capacity. The new buses will also mean savings on fuel, maintenance and repair. The town hall preference is for the buses to run on natural gas, though it is open to there being diesel buses as these are now less polluting.