Monday, 31 July 2017

Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Mallorca's capital, Palma, is one of Spain's larger cities with more than 400,000 inhabitants.

Palma does have a metro.  However, this is quite limited compared to many other cities. Two lines operate north from the city centre, one running every 20 minutes while the other runs just once per hour.  These compare unfavourably to the "turn-up-and-go" frequencies operated on other metro systems that I have used.  Palma's metro also closes quite early, with last trains departing in the mod-evening on weekdays, early afternoon on Saturdays with no service at all on Sundays.

A bus network, provided by EMT, is the main element of the city's public transport system.

Standard single-deck buses with three sets of doors operate many of the services.

Most of these wear a white, blue and green livery.






As well as conventional diesel-powered buses, there are also gas-powered vehicles.

These can be identified by the large tank on the roof.


There are also plenty of articulated buses on Palma's streets.

Like the standard single-deckers, these have three sets of doors.





Although most of the articulated buses I saw were diesel-powered, I did spot at least one was powered by gas.

As well as standard and articulated buses, there were also some smaller buses in use.

Short-length, two-door single-deck buses operate route 2, which operates into Palma's historic old town.

I also found these shorter buses on a couple of other services, where they were operating alongside full-size buses.

EMT also operate minibuses.

I found this one operating into the centre of Palma, but did not see any others.

Some of the older buses still carry an earlier silver and blue version of the EMT fleet livery.

EMT's route 46 operates as a circular service starting and finishing in the city centre.  Buses run in both directions around the circle.  EMT have an unusual way of distinguishing the direction of travel.

Buses running clockwise are denoted with a small "1" on the destination display, and an intermediate destination.  Clockwise journeys head out of Palma city centre towards Genova via El Terreno.

Buses running in an anti-clockwise around the loop are denoted with a similarly small "2".

As this bus is arriving back in the city centre, it has returned via El Terreno.

So if you are using route 46 to head from the city centre to somewhere on the loop, you may need to look closely at the display to check which direction around the loop the bus will go.

In some lighting conditions, the displays are not particularly clear!


In some of the cities I have visited, the link between the city centre and the airport is provided by a dedicated bus or coach service.

In Palma, EMT's route 1 provides the link to and from the airport.

I found a mix of standard and articulated buses in use on route 1. 

Route 1 continues beyond the city centre to terminate at Palma's port.


Two fare scales apply to EMT's bus services.

At the time of writing, for visitors to Palma, a €1.50 fare applies.  Higher fares apply for journeys to and from the port or the airport.  Fares can be paid in cash on board the bus, or with a pre-paid single journey ticket from certain retailers.  A 10-journey pre-payment card is available for €10.  No transfers are permitted, except for fares to or from the port or airport using a pre-paid ticket, in which case one transfer from or to another bus is permitted.

Lower fares are charged to residents of Palma and neighbouring municipalities holding a citizens' card.  For holders of citizens' cards, one transfer between buses is permitted at no extra fare.

A network of buses radiates out from Palma to other parts of Mallorca.  These services operate under the TiB (Transports de les Illes Balears) banner.

Although a standard livery of red and yellow is carried, services on the TiB network are operated by a number of companies using a wide range of vehicles.

Many use single-deck buses...




 ...including some longer vehicles with three axles.


Articulated vehicles are used on a number of services.





Some services are provided with coaches.


Minibuses can also be found operating on TiB services into and out of Palma.


TiB services terminate at a transport interchange in the centre of Palma.

The interchange is below ground, with the bus station adjacent to the metro and rail platforms.


Buses enter and leave the interchange using ramps.

Although Palma does not have a tram system, it does have a train which runs along streets in the north east of the city.

The Tren de Sóller is a heritage electric narrow-gauge railway running from Palma to the town of Sóller, about 20 kilometres to the north.

The Tren de Sóller leaves from a station across the road from the transport interchange.

Since the Tren de Sóller caters primarily to tourists, special fares are charged.

Within Palma, City Sightseeing operate a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour using open-top and convertible double-deck buses.

Horse-drawn carriages also provide tours of Palma, primarily in and around the old town. 

There are various boat trips in and around the Bay of Palma.

These images show a selection of the vessels.




As a major port, Palma is served by ferries to and from the Spanish mainland.

Two operators ply the routes from Palma to Barcelona and Valencia.

Trasmediterranea also operate from Palma the island of Menorca...

...while Baleària also provide crossings to Ibiza and to Dénia on the mainland.

At the port, shuttle buses take ferry passengers from the terminal to the quayside.  I found this three-axle bus in use for passengers sailing with Baleària.

As well as scheduled ferries, cruise ships also call into Palma.

The arrival of cruise ships provides work for coaches, carrying the cruise passengers from the ship to the city centre and back.

Finally, Palma is one of the growing number of cities to have launched a public cycle hire scheme.

My previous post describes the transport systems operating elsewhere on the island of Mallorca.