AMTU: There Really is Strength in Numbers
A Prunes, AMTU, ES
In order to join forces for the funding and coordination of public transport services, the Metropolitan Transport Authority was created and tasked with managing all public transport infrastructure and services in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area.
The AMTU's primary goal was to participate in infrastructure planning and to request additional funding for its members? respective urban transport systems, equal to that received by the 18 townships of the 1st Metropolitan Ring. Crucially, however, the AMTU was also created in order to promote public transport and sustainable mobility throughout its metropolitan region. To this end, the AMTU aimed to serve as a forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences among the member townships, their policymakers and those responsible for technical implementation. The AMTU thus became a species of transport union for its members, based on mutual assistance. Since then, the AMTU has continued to grow. Today it has 55 members, all with urban transport systems, which are home to a total of 1,700,000 people and accounted for 42,000,000 passengers in 2007 alone.
In 2003, the AMTU asked to join the ATM and did so as a member with full rights, represented in the executive bodies. Within the ATM, the AMTU has advocated the idea that the two metropolitan rings could not be allowed to evolve at different speeds, but rather that public investment in different transport systems had to be the same for all towns throughout the Barcelona Metropolitan Area. Thanks to this lobbying effort, an agreement was signed by the Catalan government, the ATM and the AMTU, under which the latter's urban transport services would be included under the new 2007-2010 Programme-Agreement and would be allocated some ?28 million in funding to be distributed throughout its townships over a 4-year period in order to enhance their urban transport systems. Consequently, by 2010, AMTU townships that sign on to the Improvement Plan will transport 15% more passengers, acquire 110 new vehicles and run services that are 30% more frequent. Use of private vehicles is expected to drop 8%.
Thanks to its presence in the ATM, the AMTU has been able to underscore how, whilst radial demand among the region's cities and Barcelona was well served by urban transport systems, a public transport offer able to meet demand to travel between outlying cities was either missing or deficient. It was moreover able to highlight the fact that this demand for inter-town travel was growing annually at twice the rate in the 2nd Metropolitan Ring as in the 1st, that is, that major shortfalls could be expected within a few years. Thanks to this decentralised perspective, the Catalan government decided to build a rail line linking the capital cities of the 2nd Metropolitan Ring, as well as to double and triple the lines currently in service.
Given the extensive territory encompassed by the AMTU's members, including many rural townships and residential housing developments, as well as an extremely dense network of industrial parks, the association has been especially sensitive to the need to develop and promote specific rural and semi-rural bus programmes, on-demand taxi services, shared micro-bus services between different towns, intercity bus lines, etc.
Finally, the AMTU conducts studies and projects on its own behalf. To this end, three studies now being completed are indicative of the association's varied interests. To wit, they examine: the possibility of extending tram services to the AMTU's member towns; the creation of a network of Mobility Offices in diverse cities; and the publication of educational materials targeting children and teenagers to promote proper use of public transport services.
All of this in just 10 years. The original sponsors of the AMTU project never expected such impressive growth or such stunning success in achieving their objectives.
Association for European Transport