In love with the car in Majorca. | Archive

According to the transport ministry, the people of the Balearics undertake an average of 2.6 million "trips" each day. Of these, slightly under a third are on foot; 57% are by car. The rest are made up by public transport (10%) and cycling.

Car use in the Balearics is significantly greater than a national average of 42%. One region where it is notably lower is the Basque Country (36%). Of these car trips, 63% start and finish in the same municipality. The ministry says that they could be done by bike or by walking. Improvements for cyclists and pedestrians are therefore considered to be necessary as are those to public transport. This needs to be more competitive than private transport. At present, journey times by public transport are 40% longer than by car.

When it comes to tourists, the ministry estimates - based on a typical day in July - that they make 1.3 million trips a day. Slightly more than a third are in a hire car; 28% are on foot, 16% are on a public transport bus and 13% are by taxi. For train journeys there are only 0.4% and on bikes 0.2%. The ministry reckons that there are around 75,000 hire cars on the roads each day in high summer.

Transport minister Marc Pons and transport director-general Jaume Mateu are addressing this usage in the development of the strategic plan for mobility. There have to be measures for "safe and sustainable" public transport*, and the targets are to reduce car journeys by 20%, to increase public transport use from ten to fifteen per cent and to also increase the number of journeys by bike - up to nine per cent.

* Apropos safety and sustainability of public transport, Pons apologised for the latest bus fire (on Wednesday in Pollensa), adding that the fleet of buses is being renewed.