IT simply beggars belief the state of public transport along the Costa del Sol.
Buses that don’t run on time, drivers who don’t wait at stops if they arrive early, the lack of coordination between the various bus routes and the companies that run them.
Why have half a million-plus residents and millions of tourists tolerated this pathetic transport system for so many years?
It should be a basic no-brainer to run regular and reliable buses up and down the coast.
And it’s really not a huge logistical challenge.
Decent mobility for residents is a basic human right in any developed country – and surely the need for reducing carbon emissions should today be paramount.
It is simply not acceptable to force 90% of residents to take their cars out onto congested roads on almost every occasion.
It doesn’t even require a massive investment. Installing GPS devices on buses and connecting them up to Google Maps and other transport apps would mean that people might actually know when the next bus is coming.
It would also help tourists to know where the bus stops are and what routes are available.
There are actually dozens if you take into account all the local routes.
Electronic signs could also be installed at bus stops informing travellers when to expect the next bus to arrive.
What joy this would bring to the cleaners, nurses and babysitters that rely on public transport and who help to make our local economy function.
The Junta could even stick card machines on the buses so people don’t need to run to a cash machine before running some more to catch the one bus that comes every two hours.
A reliable late bus service would also be excellent to help ferry night staff home from work or to encourage drinkers to ditch the car to get home.
None of these are revolutionary steps.
In fact, it’s astonishing that a company like Avanza, responsible for providing much of the public transport along the coast, has not already implemented them as standard.
The Olive Press plans to raise the issue this year, with elections looming.
Come on mayors, councillors and the diputacion… it’s time to step in and help!
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As long as tickets for a bus ride are so cheap, the private bus companies will not change that situation.