There are to be four interchange stations, including Palma's. | Miquel À. Cañellas

An overhaul of the bus network in Majorca has been a key element in the government's overall transport plan. It has previously been announced that there is to be a rationalisation of bus operating concessions, and from 2019 there will be just the three, which will be subject to new specifications and requirements set out by the transport ministry.

The aim is to improve bus connections for the whole island, and so there will be four interchange stations. One of these is the Intermodal Station in Palma, the other three will be in Campos, Inca and Manacor. In the case of Inca, it will act as a link for new services into the Tramuntana, and the current bus station, which is underused, will assume greater importance.

The terms and conditions for the new bus operators have now been put open to public consultation. This process will close at the end of the year, and there are to be three separate tender contests for the new concessions, which will last for a minimum of ten years.

The plan is for bus frequencies to increase by almost 50% and for the total length of routes to increase by a similar amount. There are to be more direct connections and the bus fleet is to be overhauled. Almost three-quarters of it will be new buses, with some electric buses being introduced. Bus design will be low floor, meaning that accessibility for passengers with reduced mobility will be that much easier.

For the purposes of the new network, there will be three zones. Operating companies can bid by themselves or as joint ventures. However, no company will be allowed to run all three concessions. Among the tender conditions will be social clauses (pay, hours, equal opportunities) established by the government. Current staff will also have to be retained.