International €85 million tender launched to revolutionise Algarve bus services

AMAL, the association of Algarve borough councils, has launched an international tender to the tune of €85 million for a five-year concession to revolutionise the region’s bus services.

In line for changes are 98 routes – some of which will be entirely new.

Say reports, AMAL wants to see existing services ‘reinforced’ and new lines created for areas where there are more than 40 residents with no bus stop within easy reach (within 800 metres).

The ‘intermunicipal community of the Algarve’ (AMAL’s official designation) also wants to see an Aerobus link between “some boroughs and Faro airport”.

AMAL is the first ‘intermunicipal community’ in the country to advance with what it calls ‘the transposition of a community directive’ – designed to reduce countries’ carbon footprints by encouraging citizens to use public transport instead of their own vehicles.

Earlier this year, prices for bus and train passes were significantly reduced though schoolchildren’s bus passes registered no change.

With this latest development, AMAL’s president Jorge Botelho says the region’s bus services will become “more efficient and functional”.

Dubbing the plan, an “enormous advance for the region”, he said the transport network would become “more environmentally friendly with routes that better serve people’s everyday lives”.

Plans involve a graphic-design makeover – again to promote public transport as an attractive option.

AMAL is currently spending 600 million euros per year on ‘reducing the cost of public transport” – the money going to compensate companies running the various concessions.

Expenses are covered 97.5% by the EU Environmental Fund and 2.5% by the 16 borough councils: Albufeira, Alcoutim, Aljezur, Castro Marim, Faro, Lagoa, Lagos, Loulé, Monchique, Olhão, Portimão, São Brás de Alportel, Silves, Tavira, Vila do Bispo and Vila Real de Santo António.

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