Bus fares in Palma will not go up next year. This was announced yesterday by Pedro Alvarez, chairman of the EMT, the municipal transport company. A single ticket will continue to cost one euro, which drops to 0.45 euros for people with a tarjeta ciudadana or citizen's card. University students will pay 0.30 euros and pensioners and members of large families 0.15 euros. The period in which free transfers can be made continues to be 90 minutes. “If we take into account this year's inflation, fares will actually go down,” Alvarez said yesterday. He pointed out that this trend started in the year 2000 and claimed “this means that since then, the people of Palma have saved 2.4 million euros a year in public transport.” The EMT was actually one of the few firms to round down its prices when the euro was introduced - the single fare used to be 175 pesetas. Alvarez also announced that an information campaign would be launched next month, using hoardings and mail slots, to inform people of the new routes, times and lines, the fares policy and the future regulations on the rights and obligations of users. At the moment, children under the age of four travel free, and Alvarez said that this age limit will shortly be raised to seven. The EMT has invested heavily in new buses to modernise its fleet and has recently introduced a new line to Can Tapera in San Agustin and changed the route of the Genova bus, a move which has come under fire from users. But the EMT claims that it consulted neighbourhood associations before the change was made. The number 2 route has proved to be more popular. This is the one which goes around the historical centre of the city, the Avenidas, Paseo Mallorca, Jaime III and the Borne. While in March it attracted only 800 users, by August, this figure had risen to 8'000. The city council wants to encourage more people to leave their cars at home and use public transport.

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