With the new transport network in the Algarve, VAMUS enters «the XNUMXst century»

EVA Transport, which won the concession through its subsidiary VIZUR, has made "a big investment" in new buses

Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação

The Algarve's public road transport will definitely enter "the 1st century" and even travel on request in low-density areas of the region will come into existence, with the entry into operation of the new network “VAMUS – Transportes do Algarve”, this Wednesday December XNUMXst.

This new network was concessioned by AMAL – Comunidade Intermunicipal do Algarve, the regional transport authority, to the company VIZUR, a subsidiary of EVA Transportes (the Barraqueiro group), following a public tender launched in 2019.

About two years later, the new long-distance and regional bus service becomes a reality, with innovations in terms of technology, timetables, coverage, the type of offer and the fleet it offers, which has many new buses.

Ricardo Afonso, managing director of EVA Transportes, has no doubts that the creation of VAMUS, which responds to a specification drawn up by the entity that brings together the 16 Algarve municipalities, will improve the service and make it more attractive.

And one of the elements that contribute most to this are the IT tools, namely the new application and website, which have already begun to revolutionize customer interaction.

“The system will have several improvements. One of them is the application for mobile phones and a website that allows people much easier access to information and the purchase of transport tickets, even avoiding the traditional queues we have at the end of the month at our ticket offices", he tells Sul Informação.

“From now on, we have entered the XNUMXst century and people at home can make a pass, buy it and show up on the bus with just their mobile phone”, he summed up.


Ricardo Afonso


Another novelty is the new on-demand transport service in low-density areas, “something that didn't exist until now”.

“We know that there are areas that do not have any type of economic viability and, therefore, do not have public transport, because very few people live. So, in this new costume, there will be transport on request. In other words: people, by means of previously defined schedules – it is not a taxi – and with the value of a single career ticket, they can activate a service that will transport them from their locality to the county seat», explained Ricardo Afonso.

If no one asks for it, “the service does not take place. It is only done if at least one person requests it».

On-demand shipping will have a dedicated phone number, although activation can also be done through the computer applications.

"But we know that a good part of the population living in low-density areas is info-excluded, so the traditional telephone is what works best", said the EVA managing director, who has already had professional experience in implementing this type of offer in others. areas of the country.

“It will be a simple process: people know the telephone number, the timetables that are available to them and the place where the bus stops, they call there and activate the transport. They just need to do it 12 hours in advance. Basically, the day before the afternoon, they can activate for the next day in the morning», he summed up.

This is the intention to bet on new routes to and from the Airport of Faro, coming from other municipalities, are the big news in terms of the offer.

“Our idea is to serve the Airport from other points. And not just for tourism. Some of the lines, namely for the Barlavento, we intend to maintain throughout the year», he said.

Basically, it is about «creating in the Algarve this habit, which exists a lot in the North and with success, of people not taking their car to the airport, especially when traveling on business. Instead of taking the car, as they have that stress of finding a place or because the parks at airports are very expensive, people travel by bus. The idea is this: to have a service not only for tourists, but also for the resident population».

The idea is “to make a line to Loulé and another to Lagos [with passage through Portimão and Albufeira]. We will also, as an experiment, create a line to Vila Real de Santo António, next year».

"The rest basically remains," he concluded.



“We know this is all dynamic. The lines do not remain unchanged, because employment generating poles and preferred destinations change over the years. In fact, we have the issue that, whenever classes start, we have to readjust the times and sometimes the lines, because either there is a student who comes from a location that was not served before or because he leaves earlier or later. It will be adjusted at all times, whenever necessary», he said.

This is also true for the timetables, which have been adapted "to try to accommodate the requirements of passengers".

And there is, of course, a new image, which is already “out there”.

“We had already bought 40 new buses and we decided to put them to work now, because it didn't make sense for them to be stopped. From December 1st, everyone will have the VAMUS badge. In all, we will have a fleet of 130 to 140 buses», explained Ricardo Afonso.

These vehicles were “a big investment” and are “more comfortable, efficient”, in addition to “all having wi-fi to board'. And «even the transport of bicycles will be possible on some lines».

As the idea is to "increase the number of passengers", the Algarve road transport operator is trying to sensitize local authorities and other entities with responsibility in the matter to move forward with measures that "make life easier for public transport, such as dedicated bus corridors" , something that at the moment, «does not exist», in the region.

“We suffered a lot of delays, especially in summer, on the EN125. Therefore, it would be desirable to make life easier for public transport, even for people to use it more. If I'm stuck in traffic and see a bus passing by, I sometimes start thinking: “what can I do here in a parked car, if the bus leaves me there faster”. Now, as long as they share the same space, they both arrive at the same time and in a car I'm even more comfortable», he concluded.

AMAL, which concessioned this network, stresses, for its part, that the implementation of the VAMUS – Transportes do Algarve network «brings a wider offer to the region, with new regular lines, a new on-demand transport service – in places with more of 40 inhabitants without stopping at 800 meters».

«The interurban public road transport service in the Algarve will now be fully operational. It should be noted that urban transport in Lagos, Portimão, Albufeira, Loulé, Faro, Olhão and Tavira will continue to be managed by the respective municipalities», concluded the Algarve Intermunicipal Community.


Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação