World Car Free Day: when is it celebrated and where will public transport be free?

From September 16 to 22, the European Mobility Week (SEM) 2023 is celebrated.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
18 September 2023 Monday 17:27
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World Car Free Day: when is it celebrated and where will public transport be free?

From September 16 to 22, the European Mobility Week (SEM) 2023 is celebrated. This initiative, which was born in 1999 and the following year had the support of the European Commission (EC), aims to raise awareness, both policy makers and citizens about the health and environmental benefits of using more sustainable means of travel, such as public transport or cycling, and choosing to go places on foot.

Under the motto Combine and move, this edition wants to put emphasis on intermodality, that is, on the benefits offered by the combination of different types of means of transport to make journeys that are as ecological as possible.

In Spain, a total of 379 localities have joined SEM 2023, organizing very diverse activities to raise awareness and promote sustainable mobility. The programming varies according to each municipality. Thus, everything from bicycle outings to children's workshops to talks and road safety courses, among others, are held. In the following link, you can find all the towns that have joined the European initiative, as well as the activities they carry out.

Mobility week ends on September 22, coinciding with World Car-Free Day. During this day, many towns close some of their streets to motorized traffic, so that they are essentially reserved for pedestrians and cyclists. It should be noted that it may be the case that some municipalities have chosen to carry out these mobility restrictions on another day.

The objective of this initiative is to encourage the use of public transport and other means of travel to the detriment of private vehicles. To do this, in some towns public transportation will be free. Such is the case of Córdoba, which will subsidize all trips on metropolitan public transport for journeys made from 00:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on September 22. The refund procedure will be carried out within a period of about 10 or 12 days automatically by the Consortium Network system (users will check their refund after recharging or adjusting their balance).

During the car-free day, in Palma de Mallorca, you can travel on the urban bus, train and metro without having to use the Citizen Card or the Intermodal Card. Likewise, thanks to the Hui rests the cotxe initiative, in the Valencian community there will be free transportation on the Metrovalencia, TRAM d'Alacant, TRAM de Castelló and Metrobus services.

For their part, buses in Cartagena and Murcia will be free on World Car-Free Day, the same as in Valladolid, Santander and Jaca. In Vitoria, the Tuvisa council has also approved free buses and trams for next Friday, September 22.

These are just some of the cities that will not charge for using public transportation on Car Free Day. The movement restrictions that will be applied may make it difficult for those who usually travel by private vehicle to get around. In fact, being a weekday, the closure of some streets may prevent them from getting to work on time. Hence, to the extent possible, the best way to face the day is to avoid traveling by car and opt for other means. In cases where this is not feasible, we recommend being proactive and consulting in advance the information issued by the different municipalities in this regard.