Lisbon, May 10 (Lusa) – Lisbon city council, which has been overseeing the city’s bus and tram company, Carris, since February, is to invest €80 million in the company between now and 2019, with €61 million of that going into renewing the fleet, including the purchase of electric vehicles.
According to figures unveiled at a news conference overseen by the mayor, Fernando Medina, this year will see an investment of €12.4 million in Carris, rising to €38.1 million next year and €30.1 million in 2019.
As well as new buses, the money is to go into areas such as electric sub-stations, support vehicles and infrastructure maintenance.
“Carris has lost many passengers, the service has deteriorated a lot in recent years,” Medina told journalists after the presentation. “We have a very ambitious, but very clear programme: we want to turn around … this decline and start the road to recovery.”
He stressed that results could not be expected immediately, and that “perseverance” will be needed, but that there is “a good plan” to put into practice and the “political determination to do it”.
Medina will not be building up debt as in the past, he stressed, since the city will shoulder “its responsibility” in financing public service obligations in the field of transport – given that ticket revenue is not enough. The council has created a ‘mobility fund’ with some €15 million available this year.
Between now and 2019 the company plans to adopt 12 “priority measures”, some of which are already being implemented, such as the creation of new, more attractive and fairer fares, fleet renewal, the hiring of 200 new drivers, the implementation of a neighbourhood network encompassing 21 new bus routes, and the expansion of the tram network – including the extension of the route of the No.15 to Santa Apolónia rail station and the return of the No. 24, from Cais do Sodré station to Amoreiras shopping centre.
The chairman of Carris, Tiago Farias, announced that the first four neighbourhood routes would start in July: in the parishes of Marvila, Olivais, Parque das Nações and Santa Clara. As to the fleet, the coming weeks would see moves to acquire 125 buses powered by natural gas and 40 ‘bendy bus’ articulated vehicles.
Other planned transport measures in this, a local election year, include more efficient bus lanes, more car parks to encourage a reduction in private vehicle use, coordination with the planned shared-bike scheme, the creation of a new mobile application, and the installation of free WiFi internet in the whole Carris network.
Lisbon city council reacquired responsibility for the management of Carris in February, 41 years after it was taken over by the state.
AYMN/ARO // ARO.
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