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Viewpoint: The sustainable mobility challenge

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European Mobility Week has come at an opportune time for Palma town hall and for its grand ‘Palma Walks’ plan. While no one really questions the motives behind sustainable mobility, translating these into measures with public buy-in is the hard part.

In this regard, the town hall seems to have been making a bit of a mess of things. Various associations, business and residents, have come together in insisting that the mobility councillor, Francesc Dalmau, is sacked. The worst councillor ever, they claim.

In seeking to win hearts and minds, the town hall’s stellar announcement ahead of Wednesday’s Car-Free Day is that the city centre Line 2 bus route is to be free. Fantastic. Or it would be if it were to run more frequently than every thirty minutes and at weekends and not be viewed as a service more for tourists than residents. And free? Well, who pays for it?

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The ire among certain associations has been raised by what they say has been a complete failure on behalf of the town hall to enter into dialogue about its grand plan. Retailers will be harmed, not helped, they maintain. They would doubtless have been choking, therefore, when Mayor Hila suggested that the free bus will be a help to them.

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The town hall’s vision is to be applauded. However, perceived imposition allied to what can be a moralising and superior tone that characterises its sustainability narrative do the town hall few favours.

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