EVA to take over a majority of the Algarve’s bus network
AMAL, the previous main bus service operator, is set to pass on the Public Passenger Road Transport Service to EVA, aiming to “strengthen and improve mobility in 98 of the southern lines of the country”. This means that most of the Algarve’s bus network will be operated by the regional bus company starting in August 2020.
The news was revealed by AMAL yesterday. They stated: “this decision comes after the transfer of management of the public road passenger transport service to public entities, namely municipalities and intercity communities.”
Lusa pointed out that the Algarve’s municipalities have been pioneers in advancing this measure, which has so far required a tender with a value of approximately 85 million euros for a five-year concession. It is worth pointing out that EVA was already, even before this concession, the main public transport operator in the Algarve region.
The tender was launched back in June following a law which handed the management of public bus networks over to local councils and intermunicipal associations such as AMAL.
AMAL added that the signing of the contract should take place by the end of the year, which will mark the “beginning a transitional period for EVA to ensure obligations that include the implementation of an on-demand transport system for locations that have more than 40 inhabitants”. They must ensure that the buses also have enough space to accommodate at least two bicycles on the routes from Vila Real Santo António-Faro, Faro-Lagos and Lagos-Sagres.
Moreover, the bus company must be able to guarantee that they will run an Aerobus service connecting locations to Faro Airport. The buses on this route must also be able to accommodate at least 2 bicycles.
This service concession does not cover urban transport managed directly by municipalities, such as the city transport in Faro, Lagos, and Portimão.
In March of last year, a regional initiative recognized that there is a stark lack of strategy in the routes managed by these two operators. The main criticisms were: expensive tickets, insufficient and weak information provided, and bad regional route planning.
These issues are the most likely culprits behind the drop in numbers of people using public transport in the Algarve. It is hoped that this deal will breathe a breath of fresh air into the region’s bus network, at a time when many nations are attempting to push the positives of green transport alternatives.