Extending the metro, but not to the airport. | MDB

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Following recent criticism of the government's transport policies, the minister for transport Marc Pons has explained that the metro in Palma will be extended to the ParcBit technology park and that a study is to be made for it to go to Son Espases Hospital as well. Speaking in parliament, he added that other projects are to be given consideration and that the metro extension would be just the first.

Taking the metro to ParcBit will mean building 1.2 kilometres of track, and Pons said that the drafting of the project and tender will probably be before the end of the current administration (in May next year). The government is planning the greatest increase in public transport of any administration, he insisted.

He stressed that the government's transport plan, which is to be presented next month, will improve the public transport network, reduce use of private vehicles and lessen congestion on the roads. Yesterday, the cabinet was due to have approved the procedures for the contracts for new concessions at a cost of 434 million euros over the next ten years.

Pons exchanged words with the PP's Mabel Cabrer, who maintained that the current government's transport record is "worse" than others. She highlighted road congestion, describing this as "horrific and with constant jams", a situation that demands solutions. Cabrer referred to the Council of Majorca's councillor for infrastructure, Mercedes Garrido (like Pons, a member of PSOE), who has said that the roads have reached their limits. "But she doesn't know how to respond, " claimed Cabrer.

The metro extension proposals hadn't been specifically included in the transport plan, but there has been lobbying for an extension. This excludes, however, taking the metro to the airport, which has been called for. Further development of the rail network is being promised. The government hasn't said anything definitive about this, but there have been hints regarding the reactivation of the Manacor-Arta line at the very least.

With the bus network, the concessions are to be rationalised. There will be three operators responsible for specific areas of the island. The new contracts, due to come into effect at the start of next year, include various stipulations to do with employment conditions and the environment.