Forty-five new leased buses are expected in Malta by next month to help cater for the increased demand of patrons for the summer months, Transport Minister Joe Mizzi told Parliament yesterday.

The buses will be low-floor and air-conditioned with Euro 5 standard engines, and will be leased for no longer than a year.

Answering two questions by Toni Bezzina (PN), Mr Mizzi said that in view of the short notice following the board’s decision, the operations arm of the Malta Public Transport Services had contacted a number of local and foreign companies for the lease. The operator had received four offers.

The vehicles will be low floor and have air con

The driving force behind the decision to lease was to keep costs down and afford better-quality services to patrons, especially because a substantial number of services were being provided by coaches and mini-buses that were not low-floor.

Asked by Opposition Whip David Agius at what stage the evaluation of the three expressions of interest in operating the public transport was in, and what amount of subsidies would be involved, Mr Mizzi said subsidies would be discussed following the ongoing evaluation.

An enhanced public transport system would benefit the whole country with better punctuality, less use of private transport, less wear and tear on private vehicles and roads, and reduced fuel importation and pollution.

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