Balearic minister of public works, transport and housing, Francesc Quetglas, and Mayor of Calvia Margarita Nájera yesterday introduced 11 new buses for the Transabus fleet which has the public transport concession in Calvia. The buses have cost 174'000 euros each, and the ministry has paid between 15 and 20 per cent of the total price, plus the full accessibility costs and painting the exteriors. This year the Balearic government is spending 1.3 million euros on renewing the fleets of buses which link the outlying towns and villages. Quetglas said that one of the objectives of his department is to reduce the average age of buses in the Balearics to seven or eight years. At the moment, the average age is around 14 years, “one of the highest in Spain,” the minister said yesterday. The average age of the buses in the Transabus fleet is now two years. Quetglas said that one of the most important challenges in organising public transport in Majorca is “solving the problem of the Palma-Calvia-Andratx corridor.” This will be achieved, he explained, by introducing “an inter-nodal system” with a bus station in Palmanova connecting Calvia with Palma via an express line, and different lines to all parts of the municipality and Andratx. Quetglas's ministry wants to increase the number of passengers using public transport from the current five per cent to 25 per cent by 2006 and so “reduce pressure on the infrastructures.” Margarita Nájera, the Mayor of Calvia, said that poor public transport was one of the biggest problems of Calvia and underlined the importance of this type of service “to improve social cohesion and alleviate the pressure of cars on the roads.” Santiago Aguado, the managing director of Transabus, for his part, explained that the buses have been adapted to provide easy access for people with mobility problems. He added that they also had safety measures incorporated and made an efficient use of energy.

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