By John Ensor •
Updated: 08 Nov 2023 • 14:19
Image of airport highway.
A recent report from the Council of Mallorca has raised concerns and calls for action regarding a road blackspot.
A report published on Wednesday, November 8 by the Council of Mallorca‘s Department of Territory, Mobility, and Infrastructures has flagged concerning trends on the MA-19 motorway, leading to reconsideration of the Bus-VAO lane. Bus-VAO stands for, ‘Vehiculos de Alta Ocupacion’ (High Occupancy Vehicles).
The department’s findings show that since the Bus-VAO lane’s inception, traffic accidents on the MA-19 heading towards Palma have worryingly increased, doubling from 27 to 55 compared to last year. In contrast, the airport direction, without the Bus-VAO, saw accidents decrease from 37 to 32.
The Bus-VAO lane’s effectiveness has been called into question with its occupancy dropping significantly to between 7 and 10 per cent during the summer months. This is in stark contrast to the over 65 per cent occupancy rate of the standard lanes.
‘Most of the accidents have occurred during the day when the vehicles using the Bus-VAO try to leave it to access the Via de Cintura, interfering with the other two over-occupied lanes,’ the technical report notes.
Winter months initially showed 20 to 24 per cent early morning occupancy. However, this figure fell to 15 to 19 per cent by January. Despite a slight rise to 25 per cent during Easter mornings, daytime usage remained low. High season summer months saw consistent low figures between 7 and 11 per cent.
Adding to the concerns, the Empresa Municipal de Transports (EMT) of Palma has noted that half of its bus routes along the airport motorway opt not to use the Bus-VAO lane. Reasons include logistical challenges in accessing stops and key routes like the Via de Cintura.
The report ultimately suggests that the Bus-VAO lane has fallen short of expectations, not just in terms of occupancy but also in its role as a major communication route and in maintaining safety. ‘Both in terms of occupancy and main communication and accidents, the Bus-VAO lane has not worked effectively,’ it states, prompting recommendations for its removal and the exploration of other traffic improvement strategies.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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