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One of the consortium's interurban bus services picks up passengers at Muelle Heredia. Marilú Báez
Malaga's public transport consortium is growing: offering 80 new routes and reaching one million inhabitants
Public transport

Malaga's public transport consortium is growing: offering 80 new routes and reaching one million inhabitants

It is the first major expansion in its history adding Álora, Antequera, Coín, Fuengirola, Riogordo, Villanueva de la Concepción and Abdalajís

Chus Heredia

Malaga

Thursday, 28 March 2024, 17:20

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It is a fact that certain things are still lacking: namely some key infrastructure in the public transport network (railway lines, stations and transport interchanges, bus lanes and priority lanes for high-occupancy vehicles) and an up-to-date map of bus concessions (renewal of expired concessionary schemes and the awarding of an in-depth study of lines and services are both still pending). But it is also a fact that the demand for public transport is skyrocketing in the province. Last year almost 100 million public transport journeys were made in Malaga and its surroundings of which 18.5 million used the transport consortium's travel card. The organisation has just announced major expansion plans: almost 80 new routes, 20 municipalities in total and serving a population that exceeds one million inhabitants for the first time.

The news became official on Tuesday this week with its publication in the Official Bulletin of the Andalusian regional government (BOJA). The new members add 173,000 potential paying customers to the Consortium. They are the towns of Álora, Antequera, Coín, Fuengirola, Riogordo, Valle del Abdalajís and Villanueva de la Concepción.

1,17

million inhabitants are within reach of the Consortium.

With these towns joining up the transport consortium will now be serving 67% of the province's population, which is also growing by 17.5%. By adding these seven municipalities to the network, it is reckoned that demand will increase to more than 2.4 million passengers per year. This means that, by the end of the year, passenger numbers will be around 21 million.

This is the first major expansion by the consortium, which was created 21 years ago. The regional Ministry of Public Works for the Junta views the expansion as having a dual purpose: adding passengers and helping to maintain the areas current population numbers by also offering transport alternatives to some of the smaller towns.

New routes and new voting powers for consortium members

In total, the BOJA lists almost 80 transport routes, some permanent, others for summer season or key events such as Easter or 'feria'. For the travel card user, there are clear advantages to their ticket becoming part of this unified fare system (ticket sales worth an estimated 700,000 euros per year overall).

Joining the consortium as full members means a revision of the weighted vote for those municipalities, who will now represent 45% of the board of directors compared to 51% for the regional government and 4% for the provincial authority.

21

million trips per year are estimated following this expansion.

The population covered is 1.17 million inhabitants, which represents more than two thirds of the total population of the province: Malaga, Mijas, Fuengirola, Benalmádena, Torremolinos, Rincón de la Victoria, Alhaurín de la Torre, Antequera, Cártama, Alhaurín el Grande, Coín, Álora, Pizarra, Almogía, Casabermeja, Colmenar, Villanueva de la Concepción, Riogordo, Valle de Abdalajís and Totalán.

This agreement is one of the first measures to be implemented under the metropolitan transport plan for the Malaga area, which aims to achieve a 25% increase in public transport use as well as a reduction in road use by more than 52,000 vehicles per day in the metropolitan area in order to reduce carbon emissions by 10% by 2030.

Contracts and services

The lines mentioned and published in the BOJA involve 14 contracts: Pantano del Chorro and Vado del Álamo (5 services or lines); Casabermeja-Malaga with extended routes to Arroyo Coche and Villanueva de la Concepción (3); Malaga and Cortijada del Peñón extended to Cártama and Torrealquería, Alhaurín de la Torre and Prisión Provincial (3); Chipiona-Seville-Ronda-Malaga (1); Malaga and Algeciras extended to Rincón (28); Siles-Malaga-Almería via Cordoba-Granada and Jaén (4); Siles-Malaga-Almería via Cordoba-Granada and Jaén (3); Malaga-Antequera-Ronda (7); Cuevas de San Marcos and Antequera with extended route to Villanueva de Algaidas (3); Villanueva del Trabuco and Antequera (1); Chipiona-Seville-Ronda-Malaga (1); Malaga and Algeciras also extending to Rincón (2); Almáchar and Torre del Mar with extended route to Malaga (3); Algodonales and Malaga (1); Seville and Granada via Antequera, Cordoba and Malaga (3); Siles-Malaga-Almería via Cordoba-Granada and Jaén (6), and Malaga-Antequera-Ronda (3).

Record-breaking figures in 2023

Malaga's transport consortium beat its previous record number of passengers last year with 18.5 million people using the multimode card, a scheme that, inexplicably, train operator Renfe has not yet joined, although the company Empresa Malagueña de Transportes (EMT), the metro and the consortium's interurban buses have done so. This figure represents an increase of 55%.

20

municipalities now make up the consortium.

This result is much better than even pre-pandemic passenger numbers, some 4.5 million more.

Of all these passengers, more than 10.1 million used the intercity bus network in what were also the best figures since records began.

Among the factors that may have helped are the national and regional discounts, both with the 'Green Card' and the 'Youth Card', introduced in 2022 and held by more than 30,000 users. The discounts applied in this region are among the highest in the country (60%). That percentage will also be maintained throughout 2024.

One in five passengers in Malaga province comes under the consortium's travel scheme. This includes all journeys by public transport. But many municipalities and operators are still to be included. For this reason, the key point to make is that 70.61 million journeys can be covered under the scheme and the take-up rate is 26%.

On Malaga city's metro 5.6 million passengers used the consortium card. This represented 41.17% of all metro journeys made. These figures are largely due to the journeys made by university staff and students coming from neighbouring municipalities and accessing the campus by metro from the city centre, having travelled by bus to Muelle Heredia or Los Tilos, or via the central station, both managed by EMT. In the case of EMT, of the slightly more than 46.7 million passengers using the public company's services last year, just 2.5 million used their metropolitan travel passes, which represents 6% of the total.

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