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Areas Urbanism & territory, Tourism and Economic activities Mobility

Formentera unveils nature trails for European Mobility Week

rutes verdes senyalecticaA full programme of activities underpins the Formentera Council's backing of European Mobility Week. At the top of the list, said Rafael González, is an initiative called Rutes Verdes, a network of thirty-two newly completed nature trails. The transport councillor called the bid to boost exploration of the island by bike one of the Council's “star projects”.

For the Council, European Mobility Week also has great symbolic value; our administration has for years made strides in sustainable mobility. The Council, González said, backs any effort to enjoy the island in ways that are cleaner, quieter and more sustainable.

E-cars
This Thursday, September 21, an exhibition of zero-emissions vehicles will unfold in plaça de la Constitució from 10.00am to 1.00pm. Various local companies will showcase models from their e-vehicle fleets and the Council will follow suit, with displays of two of its own E-Meharis, two scooters and two bikes. Formentera's celebration of the yearly European Mobility Week campaign centres on “giving locals and tourists a way to discover the advantage of these vehicles firsthand”, said the councillor.

Bike ride and tourist-appreciation day
Visitors and residents alike are invited to jump on board, Thursday September 22, for a bicicletada (bike ride) across the island's network of nature trails. The gathering point has been set at 9.30am at plaça de la Constitució. From there, participants will set out for Cala Saona, making their way across three of Formentera's 32 bike and walk paths. González was sure to highlight the trails' newly installed signage. His office runs the initiative with the help of tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer.

The Office of Tourism has slated celebrations for its tourist-appreciation day, Dia del Turista, on the same day, Thursday September 22, “to put the spotlight on sustainability and see that Formentera's visiting tourists are committed to this kind of transport”, said González. According to the councillor, moving Dia del Turista to its current spot on the calendar was the Council's way of letting tourists know where Formentera's priorities lie and boosting the importance of the Mobility Week initiative.

An outreach campaign over the last week at area hotels and tourist lodgings was aimed at getting the word out about the activities and the trails system. At approximately 11.00am on Thursday, when bike ride participants make it back to plaça de la Constitució, they will be met with a sampling of traditional Formentera products. All of Formentera is invited to come out and participate in this encounter for increased sustainability.

Half of Formentera's seasonal taxi fleet are hybrid cars

foto parada taxis formenteraThe Formentera Council's bureau of mobility has reported that four of the eight seasonal taxis on the island this summer are hybrid cars. The Council's action plan on seasonal cabs for 2016 and 2017, created with the local chauffeurs' association, proposed requiring 25 per cent of seasonal taxis to be hybrids, however, as Rafael González, CiF transport councillor, commented, “we revised our outlook. It's improved and now 50 per cent of our fleet is hybrid.”

Seasonal taxi-chauffeuring permits are awarded on a point-based system. Higher scores are given to hybrids, new cars, vehicles equipped for credit-card payment and vehicles which generate returns to the Council that exceed a monthly minimum of 1,000 euros. Under the previous plan five individuals received permits; the current plan calls for increasing that number to eight. In the past, permit-holders could drive a taxi for a three-month period; that has now grown to four months, and there is a broader spread of working times.

New portable toilets at les Salines park

Foto banys parc naturalThe Formentera Council Office of Environment has begun building portable toilets near four beaches in Parc Natural de les Salines, including Es Cavall d'en Borràs, Es Molí de Sal, El Pirata de Ses Illetes and Es Ministre. Work started yesterday and is scheduled for completion by tomorrow. Each unit comes with facilities for men, women and individuals with disabilities. Daisee Aguilera, the Council's environment councillor, reported on the details of the initiative —and that the toilets would be free to use— at a press conference convened today. The project had a price tag of 48,000 euros (VAT not included) which was picked up by IBIFOR, the company that oversees public access to les Salines.

Reduced yearly fee
Councillor Aguilera also took the opportunity to announce the Balearic coastal authority's decision to lower the annual tax levied on the Council for its use of les Salines car parks. Heretofore, the administration faced yearly costs of 45,000 euros. This year, the amount will fall to 4,200 euros. As Aguilera pointed out, the coastal authority has slashed the tax on the condition that the Council put 50,000 euros into building shaded areas around the park.

Aguilera said that amount wouldn't be enough to install all the shaded areas required but indicated the administration would go about installing them progressively. She also hinted at the possibility of renewing the Balearic coastal authority pact next year — “to move forward with the shaded areas project”. According to the councillor this year's discounted tax is “a step in the right direction” and heralded the cooperation seen so far between the two administrations. Construction will pick up again at the end of the season so as to keep inconvenience to a minimum.

Additionally, the Office of Environment has put out an informational brochure —available free at points of entry to les Salines— about use of the park and sustainable transport. Besides info about opening and closing times, the brochure contains information about entrance fees at the park, which change throughout the summer and —as always— are waived for Formentera residents. The same information can also be accessed on the Formentera Council's website. Vehicle entry into the les Salines park is regulated through September 30.

Overflow parking lot opens in la Savina

Aparcament la SavinaThe Formentera Council wishes to announce that from next Friday, July 1, la Savina's overflow carpark, located between plaça Illes Pitiüses and s'Estany des Peix, will reopen for use. Drivers can leave cars parked at the 120-car capacity lot up to five days, and do not require a regulated parking pass. Parking is prohibited for lorries and rental cars that are not currently being hired.

The Formentera Council signed a deal with the lot's owners that will last until October 31. Fines will be given to any incompliant vehicles parked in the lot beginning that day. Opening the overflow parking area has been part of a bid to respond to requests from locals and seasonal workers without parking passes for la Savina's regulated parking system. Besides serving those individuals, the car park is also a cost-free option for tourists.

Council adds 5 electric Meharis to fleet

Foto presentacio E-MehariThe head of communications for the Spain-Portugal division of Groupe PSA, José Antonio León, along with his counterpart at Citroën Spain, Concha Caja, unveiled the new Electric Mehari on the Sant Francesc town square today. On hand for the ceremony were CiF president Jaume Ferrer, tourism councillor Alejandra Ferrer, transport councillor Rafael González and the chair of Formentera's tourism board, Carlos Bernús.

The automakers handed over five of the vehicles to the Council, which will put them to use for notification and inspection, tourism marketing and environmental services. The CiF president thanked the carmakers and vowed the measure would "contribute to a more sustainable Formentera.” He hailed it as a promising moment “for our island's model of growth and the protection of our natural resources, our landscapes and culture” and said the move meant “an improvement in Formentera residents' quality of life”.

León, for his part, highlighted a shared history between the Mehari and Formentera he said went back to the end of the 1960s. The PSA group head invoked the rollicking local response when the original Mehari arrived on the island and the iconic status it quickly gained. To him, the bonds between our island and the Mehari –“an alliance in favour of sustainable transport”– become even stronger with today's initiative.

Councillor Ferrer underscored that the dimensions of Formentera make it an ideal island for travel by electric car. She recalled Formentera's pioneering decision in the Balearics to install electric vehicle recharge points. There are now 32 public recharge spots and additional spots maintained by private establishments.

As Councillor Ferrer pointed out, the Council encourages the use of electric vehicles by providing free blue-zone parking and considerable rebates on the road tax as well as free entry to Ses Salines park and free vehicle recharges.

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