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Chrimes watch: San Sebastian builds a light rail system

Regular readers of this column will recall that I wrote a couple of years ago about work underway in Nice to introduce a light rail system there. During my recent visit to San Sebastián, I saw evidence of the plans underway to introduce a metro there as part of a major investment in rail infrastructure in the Basque Province.

The city has a long term (2008-2024) Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, to improve quality of life by lowering the environmental impact of transport. Currently 96.2% of journeys are made within the local region, and 56.4% of all journeys are within San Sebastián itself. Most journeys are by car - only 2.7% are by bike, and over 40% are by car.

The mobility plan includes improved pedestrian access, cyclist intermodility and use, transfer integration, and improved traffic planning, together with clean vehicle management, education and living. Goals include 200% increase in bicycle use, 25% decrease in CO2 emission, 25% energy reduction per person journey, and at least 35% increase in use of public transport.

The metro will cost £600M, with three new stations in the centre of San Sebastián, and a new station for the airport. Civil works include tunnels 2.2km long between Loiola and Herreva and a viaduct near Loiola.

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