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Coimbra is ready to launch a long-awaited project that will greatly reduce traffic in its centre

Coimbra is ready to launch a long-awaited project that will greatly reduce traffic in its centre

Ecovia emerged as an idea in 1997 only to be abandoned and reborn again this year

An ambitious project in the third-largest Portuguese city, Coimbra, had to wait nearly a quarter of a century in order to see the light of day but this time it seems that there is no turning back. The city council approved the launch of the first phase of Ecovia yesterday, 23 February.

The name refers to a so-called ‘park & ride’ system of traffic organization which will operate under the principles of sustainability and pollution reduction. Residents who live outside of the central area will be able to park in the periphery and then continue their journey on electric buses.

A clear sign of changing attitudes around mobility

The car parking lots were approved by the local administration back in November 2020 and it was decided to construct seven of them around the periphery of the city. Two of them still require intervention so it was decided to proceed with the 5 that are currently completed. These are located at Parque Verde do Mondego, Vale das Flores, Praça dos Heróis do Ultramar and the two parks of Casa do Sal (Parque Jardim and Parque Oeste).

The ‘ride’ component of the system consists of 4 circuit lines which will connect the car parks to some of the main traffic-generating points in the city centre. The Red and Purple Lines will reportedly provide access to the hospital area, the Green Line to the university district and the Yellow Line will ensure the connection between the parking lots at Praça dos Heróis and Casa do Sal as well as between the higher and lower parts of Coimbra.

The lines will be serviced by fully electric buses (5 regular and 9 minibuses), which will arrive every 7 minutes during peak times and every 15 minutes the rest of the day. The operating hours will be between 7:00 am and 8:15 on weekdays. Outside of these hours access to the parking lots will be free.

The price for using the service during working hours will be included in a ticket that combines both parking space validity and a return trip on the bus for the price of 2.60 euros. Combined passes called Rede Geral+ will also be available for the cost of 35 euros.

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