The new bus service between Palma and Palmanova got underway yesterday, and everything went smoothly, according to the company which now provides the service, Transabus SA. The bus takes in Ses Illetes and Portals Nous, covering the route previously covered by EMT, Palma's municipal bus company. The first of the new buses left from Palma at 6am and the last from Palmanova at 11.50pm. But although yesterday was a holiday, not many people used the new service. Company sources said that there was still a lot of confusion and a lot of people were unaware of the service. Also adding to the confusion is the fact that the new bus is the number 12, whereas the old one was the 21. The EMT has provided the service for years, even though it is not supposed to operate outside its own municipality. It continued with the lucrative Palmanova route (more than one million passengers a year) under a concession granted by the Balearic transport ministry, and renewed until the ministry completed its overhaul of island transport. But there was a dispute between the management and the ministry, after the latter investigated complaints, and the EMT abruptly announced that it would not continue the service after May 1. The announcement sent shock waves throughout Palma and Calvia. It came at a time when the authorities are trying to persuade the public to use public transport and leave their cars behind.

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