14 July 2011

City offers lifetime tram passes in exchange for citizens’ cars

There are many approaches cities can take to reduce the number of cars on their roads. We’ve seen numerous bike-sharing schemes, for example, as well as similar efforts to share electric cars, but until just recently we had never come across anything quite as dramatic as what Spain’s city of Murcia recently proposed. The government of Murcia has offered to give citizens lifetime passes to its brand-new tram system in exchange for turning over their cars.

Murcia’s initiative is part of a three-pronged campaign to reduce driving in the city. The first part of that effort was a program whereby citizens could register by the end of June to get a lifelong ticket for city travel on the tram in exchange for their car, which simply had to be debt-free and in working order. Since that part of the campaign ended, the next phase has involved the city displaying all the cars that were exchanged and gradually disassembling them so as to make them “disappear.”

Specifically, for every comment submitted via Facebook or Twitter, Murcia’s mechanics have been removing one piece of the cars in the city’s new collection, even broadcasting the effort via webcam for all to see. The third and final piece of Murcia’s effort, meanwhile, was a humorous initiative in late June to demonstrate the difficulty of parking in the city. To do that, Murcia set up a series of cars parked in impossible places around town, such as atop other cars.

It’s one thing for a city to advertise public transport and try to encourage its use, but Murcia’s effort is remarkable for the way it puts the city’s money where its proverbial mouth is and gives citizens a concrete alternative to driving. The drama and humor in its broadcast disassembly effort and parking displays, meanwhile, are icing on the cake. Other cities around the globe: be inspired!

Website: www.mejorentranvia.com
Contact: www.facebook.com/mejorentranvia

Spotted by: Leticia Pérez Prieto

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