Lisbon : City News

Last update : July 2005

New service provision in Lisbon

In order to better take into account mobility needs of citizens and to reverse the current trend (32% fall in patronage in 15 years), Carris, the State owned company operating Lisbon public transport networks, is significantly changing the structure of its surface network.
The new proposed network :

- Will work in tandem with the rail networks, with a more circular and less radial concept on its routes ;
- Will function on the basis of segments, providing connections which are faster, more direct and more frequent ;
- Will provide services for the city boroughs which simplify transfer to different forms of public transport.

In order to achieve these goals, the network proposed by Carris will be split into three levels :

- a structural network, made up of buses and light railways on 18 routes, acting as a complement to the "heavy" service (railway and underground) ;
- an intermediate network made up of 20 routes functioning as feeder for the structural network ;
- a local service network (based on city boroughs) made up of 20 routes, operating on short stretches and ensuring one or more connections to the rail and underground network in a maximum time of 10 minutes.

The planned bus networks will comprise 58 routes. More than 75% of Lisbon’s population (435,300 inhabitants) will have a train or underground at less than 6 minutes’ distance.
This new network will start off with 4 to 6 routes in each segment as a pilot scheme. The aim is to detect any problems and introduce improvements that can be applied to the remaining lines that are part of the network structure.
Providing the right service to the right person will allow high speeds and frequencies for those who need to travel quickly and direct service for those who value them. This project announced in January should progressively enter in service by the end of the year 2006. (added July 2005)

The LISBOA VIVA and 7 Colinas cards have been introduced, both using contact-free ticketing and this is now in place in the public transport service with a view to simplifying access to different forms of transport, along with control and prevention of fraud and the availability of information for better management of resources.

On-going training program for crews have been introduced to help cut down the accident rate and bring us down to among the lowest in Europe.

An operating support system has been introduced (known as SAEIP), providing an automatic location-finder by means of GPS and using TETRA technology, allowing for more efficient network management and improvements to the safety of passengers and crew.

Metro enlargement under construction :
Blue Line Baixa - Chiado - Santa Apolonia railway station (2005)
Red Line Alameda - São Sebastião (2007)

Later, the Yellow Line will be extended from Rato to Estrela and Alcântara Mar, the Red Line should be extended to the west towards Campolide, Campo de Ourique and to Miraflores. An eastern extension will lead to Moscavide and then a branch north to Sacavem and another branch to serve the airport (Aeroporto). The Green Line will be extended from Telheiras to Pontinha (3km).

Setting up of metropolitan transport authorities under way in Lisbon and Porto to reverse bad trends for public transport

The Decree-Law of 28 October 2003 set up Metropolitan Transport Authorities for the Portuguese two largest cities : Lisbon (2.7 million inhabitants) and Porto (1.3 million inhabitants). Commissions bringing representatives of the Portuguese government and of local authorities started in January the work to define the statutes, missions and financial resources of these new structures, that will have the difficult task to provide integrated transport policies, services, and fares for many stakeholders (23 operating companies in Lisbon metropolitan area) in a context of decline of public transport patronage and of acute financial difficulties.
Public transport patronage fell by 13% in Lisbon metropolitan area between 1991 and 2001, and by 20% in Porto. During the same decade, car traffic grew by nearly 20% in both urban areas.
The fall in public transport patronage can be explained by the strong economic growth of Portugal, the increase in car ownership (encouraged by cheap loans), and the fast urban development linked to the building of new road infrastructures.
The bad results in terms of patronage worsen the economic situation of public transport operators, which have been heavy debt burdens, and whose operating costs increase faster than fare revenues (+5% per year in Porto).
It is to be hoped that the new infrastructures such as the Metro of Porto or the extensions of the Metro in Lisbon, and the better co-ordination brought by the new metropolitan transport authorities, will be able to reverse the current trend. (added March 2004)

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