Fuengirola urban buses will soon be free for residents who possess the free Municipal Mobility Card. / SUR

Large municipalities on the Costa del Sol to offer free bus service for residents

Marbella, Fuengirola and Benalmádena already have the sustainable mobility project under way, while others such as Torremolinos and Mijas are yet to commit to the initiative

IVÁN GELIBTER

Several towns along the Costa del Sol - some governed by the PP and others by the PSOE - have committed to a plan to provide a free urban bus service for residents. The measure will not only be implemented for the benefit of the local people's pockets, but also to promote the use of public transport in a bid aimed at a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

One of the first towns to propose this measure was Marbella, which, since May 2019, has offered free urban bus services for registered residents who possess the free Municipal Mobility Card issued by the town hall.

There are currently 69,765 active cards in Marbella, 15 per cent of which are gold cards issued to the over-65s.

Sustainable mobility

The initiative will also be introduced in Fuengirola after being approved by the town hall last November. The town’s mayor, Ana Mula, said that the new service would be fully functional this year and that it would promote the “sustainable mobility” of the people of Fuengirola.

“We want to promote the use of urban transport, improve frequency, reduce waiting times, incorporate new routes to optimise the existing lines, and use low-consumption buses,” the mayor explained.

The third coastal municipality that will resort to this measure is Benalmádena, whose public transport, which already offers free bus tickets for pensioners and students, will be free for all residents during the first few months of 2022. The town hall is also considering increasing the frequency and routes of the service.

"We are working on various lines of action so that our town meets all European sustainability standards," said the mayor, Víctor Navas.

In Torremolinos and Mijas, urban public transport is not free for residents, but Mijas has been offering a free shuttle service to tourist hot spots for several years.

In the Axarquía, Rincón de la Victoria and Torrox are the only municipalities that have implemented measures to favour free public transport. Although not currently in force, free transport was approved in the towns last May for those over 65 and under 18 years of age, along with students and people with more than 33 per cent disability.

Rincón de la Victoria councillor for Mobility and Transport, Antonio Fernández, said, "The town hall is currently in the process of having the necessary infrastructure to implement this service.”