The Balearic government wants to see 25 per cent of the local population travelling on public transport by 2006. Yesterday the public transport service's new image was unveiled and one of four new railway carriages, sporting the new colours and logo, came into service in Majorca. The SFM Majorcan railway company has spent 7.8 million euros on increasing its capacity by 50 per cent with the purchase of four new motorised carriages. Balearic President Francesc Antich and the Minister for Public Works, Francesc Quetglas, attended the presentation and outlined the government's public transport objectives for the future. Over the past few years, the number of passengers regularly using the expanding Majorcan railway network has risen “spectacularly” Quetglas said “and we hope to maintain the momentum.” Antich said that his government wants to provide the public with a transport service which is “quick, comfortable and eco-friendly which in turn will help to improve the quality of life, reducing the number of cars on the road and easing congestion.” Whether the government will reach its 2006 target remains to be seen, but what was clear for all to see yesterday was the new “TIB” (Transport Illes Balears) logo and colour scheme for a combined public transport service, rail and road, in the Balearics. The new colours are yellow and red, the same as the Balearic government's corporate image. The Minister for Public Works announced that by the end of next year, all of the region's trains and public buses will be sporting the new logo and the new colours. Quetglas claimed that the unveiling of the public transport system's new “strip” yesterday, symbolised just how determined the government is to make public transport work and re-establish the train as the key mode of transport between the capital and Majorca's key towns. The SFM Majorcan railway service now operates 23 diesel-units and the new motorised carriages will provide space for an extra 250 passengers with special facilities for the disabled and extra space for cyclists. Antich said that he is committed to getting vehicles off the road and repeated his pledge to improve the quality of life for the Balearic population, which currently drives the highest number of cars in Europe. Quetglas added that once the Inca to Manacor rail link is operating next year, a short fast link will be set up between Palma and Marratxi in order to meet increasing demand. A combined bus and rail ticket to Palma pilot scheme is also going to be launched for residents in Alaro. Buses will link Alaro with the station at Consell. The Ministers also want to provide more parking at railway stations to encourage drivers to leave their vehicles and catch the train to Palma, to help ease congestion in the capital, “but that's not going to be easy” he admitted.

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