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Catalans cast cars aside in financial crisis

Published on 15/10/2008

15 October 2008

BARCELONA — The crisis has affected the car sector in more than just sales numbers.

According to a survey by Catalan highway authorities, the average number of car trips in Barcelona’s metropolitan area went down from 5.6 million 2007 to 5.1 million over the same period this year.

This 8.7-percent drop is linked to the ongoing economic downturn, because most of the reduction affects job-related car trips.

In contrast, the use of public transportation has risen for the first time: two out of every 10 trips are made on buses, trains or the subway system.

Mobility chief Manel Nadal said that walking and taking public transportation together account for a majority of short journeys in Barcelona – 63.6 percent compared with 36.4 percent for car trips. He said that part of the reason for these figures lay in the improvement of public transportation in the city and the creation of bicycle paths.

[El Pais / Francesc Arroyo / Expatica]