May 22, 2022 9:04 pm

Almeida dedicates 1,000 million to the technological revolution of the EMT




The dim light outlines the dozens of little heads facing the big screen. An epic melody accompanies the images of blue buses touring the capital, while a woman’s voice pronounces grandiloquent phrases: “We always transport your stories, your dreams, your lives.” The promotional video and the applause closed one of the best stagings by José Luis Martínez-Almeida. in the auditorium of “the cathedral of new technologies”, La Nave de Villaverde, the mayor announced yesterday the metamorphosis he plans for the Municipal Transport Company (EMT).

The figure, according to the Madrid City Council, is “historic”: 1,001.8 million euros. A distributed investment in five annuities between 2021 and 2025, and aimed at turning the public company “into the best EMT in its history: sustainable, efficient and innovative”, as the councilor stated during the presentation.

The goals are ambitious. Increase the electric fleet from 8.5% to 22.5%, which now consists of 179 buses, reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides by 80% in five years, expand the surface area of ​​photovoltaic panels from 1,430 square meters from 2020 to the 42,220 square meters in 2025…

Last year, the two-headed Consistory of PP and Citizens invested 141.8 million euros in the EMT. This exercise the sum amounts to 215.5 million; in 2023 it will be 222.3 million; 247.2 million in 2024; and 175 in 2025. The largest item, a total of 534.7 million euros, will go to the acquisition of ‘green’, sustainable and efficient buses, with the mission of reaching 729 electric vehicles in 2027. Another 131 .7 million will be used to build infrastructure, such as the “operations centers of the future” in Las Tablas and La Elipa, and 158.2 million for innovative facilities, including a green hydrogen photovoltaic plant in Entrevías, a project that ABC advanced a few weeks ago.

The careful presentation, full of data and leading terms, yesterday showed the corporate objectives of the municipal entity: sustainability, customer orientation, economic profitability and digital transformation. “The EMT is the spearhead of the entire Madrid City Council,” said the Madrid mayor, who wants to place the company “at the forefront of transport 4.0 in Europe.” Three quarters of a century have passed since the foundation of the EMT, in 1947, which was born with some thirty bus lines and some more tram lines and this 2022 celebrates its anniversary. “It’s 75 years of EMT, but the best is yet to come,” said Martínez-Almeida.

get back to normal

The Covid-19 tsunami was a slap in the face for mobility in Madrid and demand fell by up to 85% in the most critical months. The theory presented yesterday also mentions a return to normality. Before the pandemic, in 2019, the EMT was responsible 29% of trips in public means of the city and transported 440 million passengers. The network is still at 80% of pre-Covid levels and the City Council plans to recover them in 2023 and grow to 460 million users in 2025. Grow, grow and grow, also in revenue. “Environmental sustainability has to be compatible with economic sustainability,” said Martínez-Almeida.

The analysis of the Consistory projects a positive evolution of money that will enter the municipal coffers, which would go from 628.7 million euros in 2021 to 755 million in 2025. The EBITDA (gross operating profit before deducting financial expenses) would have an upward trajectory from this year, with 15 million euros, until 2025, with 58.9 million.

The EMT is not just buses. The original structure of the last century has been transformed into a “global surface mobility operator”, as defined by the City Council. In addition to the fleet of 2,068 buses and 219 lines, the company manages the 269 Bicimad stations and its 3,362 electric bicycles -with 100% of its electrified fleet, Madrid is ahead of benchmark cities such as Washington DC, New York or Paris-, 75 municipal tow trucks, 23 car parks with 12,451 spaces and the historic Madrid cable car.

Martínez-Almeida broke down the EMT roadmap, that defines 24 strategic projects, accompanied by the delegate of the Area of ​​Environment and Mobility, Borja Carabante, and the general director of the EMT, Alfonso Sánchez. Also in front of representatives of private mobility companies and opposition councillors. A plan “to make the EMT a source of pride, which it already is, for all Madrid residents”, was one of his last sentences. A few minutes after the presentation ended, it was the turn of the speeches against him.

A “Missed Opportunity”

Under the gray dome of La Nave, in the middle of the wide hall where the echo of his words reverberated, Javier Ortega Smith he dispatched his usual criticisms. The new plan of the EMT «what it does is hide behind the Central Madrid of [la exalcaldesa Manuela] Carmena », the Vox spokesman fired at the Cibeles Palace, recalling once again that weeks ago he ceased to be the priority partner of the government team.

A journalist asked a question: “What does Vox propose to reduce pollution in Madrid?” “The best way to reduce pollution is, first of all, not to lie about pollution levels, to say that in the last 10 years the quality of the air has improved,” Ortega Smith replied. Although it is true that they have improved, the capital still far from the limit values that marks the European Union. “We must not swallow the lies of the climate religion of the 2030 agenda,” the councilor concluded.

The main opposition group, Más Madrid, which ties the number of mayors with the PP (15), called the EMT plan a “wonderful loss for the city.” “A great opportunity has been lost because it does not collect fundamental things”, lamented councilor Esther Gómez, who, among other things, missed one of the points collected in the Agreements of the Villa, the M-35 project, a high-capacity rapid bus service to connect the districts outside the M-30. “It is a missed opportunity and an exercise in inconsistency,” shared the mayor of the PSOE, Ignacio Benito.

The last to appear was José Manuel Calvo, one of the three Carmenista councilors that make up the Mixed Group and who saved Martínez-Almeida’s budgets in the final stretch of 2021. Calvo thought it was a model «Continuist of what Manuela Carmena contributed». The mayor appeared shortly after in the lobby with his joking mood and provoked several laughs: “How the extreme left radical likes to talk.”

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