The Planning Authority is aiming to lead by example in encouraging large organisations to adopt green transport plans after the authority’s own scheme drew in a quarter of its employees.

At a seminar held yesterday, PA executive chairman Johann Buttigieg said measures such as a free minivan service and financial incentives for cycling, carpooling or taking the bus to work had been conceived two years ago and were hoped to eventually encourage half the authority’s employees to leave their cars at home.

The seminar was organised with the goal of sharing with other organisations the experience gathered over the course of the green plan’s implementation.

The measures included full reimbursement on bus fares and ferries from Sliema and the Three Cities (with free transport from the ferry stop to the office), dedicated parking spaces for employees who carpool and a €312 annual allowance for getting to work on foot, by bicycle or by motorbike

Mr Buttigieg said the PA’s transport plan began with an exhaustive study among staff members to analyse commuting patterns and devise feasible alternatives.

The measures included full reimbursement on bus fares and ferries from Sliema and the Three Cities (with free transport from the ferry stop to the office), dedicated parking spaces for employees who carpool and a €312 annual allowance for getting to work on foot, by bicycle or by motorbike.

Mr Buttigieg added that flexible working arrangements, including different starting times and the option of working from home, were an important part of any such projects.

“It was not an easy road, as implementing various measures also implies a culture change,” he said.

“We are attached to our cars, we love our cars and they are almost part of the family. So there was a detachment process and a degree of conviction required to switch from one way of doing things to another.

“We did not limit ourselves to one option. A number were explored, and many were implemented. We are optimistic that our small initiative can be the catalyst for other large organisations to adopt their own green transport plan.”

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