Metropolitan Green Card: Promoting Public Transport in Barcelona

Trade in your old car and get three years free public transport; the latest idea to reduce traffic and contamination in Barcelona.

The so-called tarjeta verde metropolitana would provide unlimited access to the bus, tram and metro network in Zone 1, while there's even the possibility of a BICING card included for good measure.

Before you go running for your old banger, there are strict rules for those who qualify for a tarjeta verde. In principle, three kinds of vehicle are included in the deal; diesel cars manufactured before 2006, petrol cars manufactured before 1997 and motorbikes which date from before April 2004.

To earn the right to a card, applicants would have to present themselves at their local Ajuntament with proof that their car has been withdrawn from circulation. They would also need to sign a document declaring that they will not buy another car within the period specified.

Cards would be sole use of the owner and subject to ID checks. If the owner was to buy another car, the card would be instantly withdrawn. In effect, it's a new version of the tarjeta rosa, which provides free transport to pensioners and the disabled.

'The aim is to reduce the amount of vehicles in the city and promote use of public transport to help improve air quality, which is responsible for 3500 premature deaths a year,' said Antoni Poveda, a spokesman for AMB (Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona), who hope to increase the amount of journeys taken on public tansport per year from the current figure of 613.7 million to 1,000 million by 2020.

Undoubtedly a role model for Barcelona's current administration is the Swedish city of Stockholm, which in 2014 announced a plan to make it the world's first fossil fuel free city by 2050. Key to this policy is the removal of cars from the city's streets and the shift to a network of bicycle lanes and public transport. Recently cities such as Uppsala (also Sweden), Copenhagen and Vaxjo in Denmark and Sheffield in the UK, have followed suit with similar blueprints for the phasing out of coal, gas and oil dependence.

You can take a look at climate change news in the world's cities here:

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