Car-free day ignored by municipal authorities

Portuguese environmental association Quercus has criticised municipal authorities for failing to encourage citizens to leave their motorised vehicles behind and use public transportation on European Car-Free Day last Sunday, when only 22 municipalities joined the initiative.

The association said the reasons for the poor response could be the financial crisis, the fact that the European Mobility Week was not a financed movement and the current local election campaigns.

Quercus also expressed its concern about the drop in the number of participating municipalities in the mobility week. In 2011 and 2012, there were 66 and 64 municipalities respectively associated with the event. This year, there were only 48.

The environmentalists revealed that the use of public transportation in Lisbon’s metropolitan area is around 45%, compared to the 60% average of other European cities.

The loss of 34.4 million public transportation passengers by operators Transtejo, CP, Carris, Metro de Lisboa, Metro do Porto and STCP during the first half of this year is, according to Quercus, a “worrying trend”.