Palma gets 18 million euros for free travel on its buses. | EMT


Pressure is mounting on Palma town hall to reverse its policy for 2024 and maintain free travel on EMT buses.

Following Wednesday's Spanish government approval of 43 million euros to subsidise public transport in the Balearics, representatives of opposition parties argued that there was no reason for Palma not to make travel on the buses free, which has been the case in 2023.

On X, the PSOE spokesperson at the town hall, Rosario Sánchez, insisted that the mayor, Jaime Martinez, must guarantee that "we Palma residents will have free public transport all next year now that the Spanish government has approved financing it". "There is no excuse."

The former PSOE mayor, José Hila, and the Més spokesperson at the town hall, Neus Truyol, made similar observations.

The Partido Popular mobility councillor, Antonio Deudero, said back in September that free travel on the buses would not continue. Part of his reasoning was that the funding for this in 2023 hadn't been received. He had a point. The promised funding from the Spanish government has only recently been received by the Balearic government. The 18 million euros for Palma is passed on by the regional government.

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It was also the case in September that it was far from clear whether there would be any funding for public transport in the Balearics in 2024.

On Wednesday, a town hall source said that this funding had still not been received, though it is now expected on Friday this week. The source added that they needed to see the small print and reckoned that the announcements by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and ex-Balearic president Francina Armengol were "pure politics". "We are waiting for official confirmation. We must study what exactly has been approved and how it affects the Balearics. When we know, we can speak."

Earlier this month, Deudero announced the fares for 2024. There would be no free travel, expect for pensioners and under-16s, but there would be hefty discounts.

The Balearic government, also PP, had been confident that the Spanish government would give approval and had therefore announced that, in principle, travel on interurban buses, trains and the Metro would continue to be free. Prior to Wednesday's announcement, the government had only guaranteed this free travel for January 2024.

With the funding now assured, Palma is likely to come under pressure from the Balearic government as well.