The El Boalo municipal government, with three idyllic municipalities in the Madrid Guadarrama mountain under its jurisdiction – El Boalo, Cerceda, Mataelpino – has launched a “Yo te llevo, tu me llevas (I’ll take you, you’ll take me)” campaign to encourage hitchhiking in the localities and thus promote what the local government calls “sustainable mobility.”
All those car owners who are interested in joining the program may do so simply by registering at the municipal hall with their National Identity Cards and the technical description of the cars in which they will be giving the hitchhikers a lift. Upon registration, they will be given a sticker to be stuck on the windshield where it is easily visible to the hitchhikers.
For the sake a safety, hitchhikers and car drivers may not seek/give a lift on the highway or the toll road. The Boalo government has installed some 25 hitchhikers’ sheds two meters away from the waiting sheds for bus passengers. Moreover, the municipal government suggests that the hitchhiker and the car driver be guided by common sense. If one feels uneasy with the other then they should forget about the lift.
Jose Angel Guerrero, Transportation councilor, enumerates the advantages of the hitchhike program as follows: “Shared trips reduce the cost of gasoline, CO2 emissions, and the deficit in public transport during certain hours.”
He says that at rush hour the bus service in the municipality is excellent, with a bus servicing the three localities (total population = 7,000) every ten minutes. However, at midday and from 9:30 PM to midnight, passengers have to wait more than one hour for the bus.
There is also the social component to hitching a ride. Madrid folk, whether city or rural, are by definition uninhibited and chatty. As a matter of habit they’d chat with a stranger like they’ve known him all their lives. Guerrero says the program will bring the Boalo locals closer together, providing a chance for conversation and a pleasant interlude in the car, thereby increasing social harmony.
Car drivers who participate in the program are reminded that this is based wholly on the principle of solidarity and mutual help. In no way must the driver charge for the lift.
Boalo is quick to point out that because of peculiar mountain life this is not an unfair competition to taxi drivers which it might be if Boalo were a city like Madrid.
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