The HOV lane (left) is virtually empty. | DGT, Traffic Directorate

The first day of the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane in Palma being operational has been marked by complaints and traffic jams.

Although some drivers may not have been aware of the rules regarding the use of the lane, a cause of the problems would seem to be the road marking for the HOV lane. It has a continuous white line, and so traffic has been staying in the middle lane even if vehicles may comply with the rules. Joining the lane directly from the airport isn't a problem, but at other points it is.

On Wednesday, the Partido Popular opposition at the Council of Mallorca described the situation as "total chaos". "All it has done is cause queues by dispensing with a lane for most drivers. The HOV lane is empty and the other two lanes are completely jammed."

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The councillor for mobility, Iván Sevillano, said that an objective is being achieved - one of prioritising public transport. He posted a video showing a bus travelling freely along the HOV lane and cars stopped in the other two lanes. "We have to be prudent," he noted, "as mobility habits don't change from one day to the next".