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by Tim Beissmann

Would you give up your car for a lifetime public transport pass?

This is the question confronting the residents of Murcia, Spain as the local government looks for innovative ways to reduce congestion and emissions and encourage the use of its new tram system.

Residents in the southern coastal city were invited to take advantage of the ‘everlasting tram ticket for clunkers’ program last month.

The cars needed to be in working order and had to be registered to be eligible for the scheme.

There are no statistics on how popular the swap scheme has been so far, although the government is understood to be happy with the take-up rate.

The government has been proactive in its efforts to reduce emissions from the region’s car fleet. In April 2010, early EV adopters were offered up to 6000 euros ($8000) in rebates as the government sought to have 2000 electric cars on the road by the end of the year. Less than 20 were sold in the first three months, leading to the phase out of the scheme.

To give the current tram swap system a better chance, the government ran a creative campaign to keep it in the public’s mind.

Cars have been stacked on top of each other to highlight the inconvenience of finding a parking spot, while another initiative has seen local mechanics remove a part from scrapped vehicles positioned prominently around the city for each message that is left on the program’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Clearly the scheme will be most attractive to people who drive a battler of a car and those who plan to live in the city for a good portion of their lives.

What do you think? Would you give up your car for a public transport gold pass? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.




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