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Dozens of new bus shelters to be given the green light

Less than a quarter of bus stops have shelters

Fewer than a quarter of bus stops are equipped with shelters. Photo: Jonathan Borg

Fewer than a quarter of bus stops are equipped with shelters. Photo: Jonathan Borg

Dozens of new bus shelters are set to be installed in the coming months after the end of a legal challenge that has held back the project for several weeks.

The Times of Malta reported in October that less than a quarter of bus stops – just 502 out of 2,032 around Malta and Gozo – had shelters, apart from large canopies at the Ċirkewwa, Buġibba, Mater Dei Hospital, Marsa Park and Ride and airport hubs.

Transport Malta issued a request for proposals to design and install up to 500 new shelters back in autumn 2016, but after the winning bidder was chosen, the process was bogged down by a series of appeals, which prevented further progress.

A Transport Malta spokesman told this newspaper that the Contracts Department had now recommended that the request for proposals be awarded, and that the authority would be signing a contract with the winning bidder soon.

The process was bogged down by a series of appeals

The original request specified that installation was to begin within four months of the contract being signed, with an initial list of 51 shelters including nine along the Coast Road, as well as various other localities.

The new contract also offers the possibility of bus shelters in different sizes, allowing for shelters in constricted areas.

The transport authority has previously pointed to the location of many bus stops on narrow pavements where a shelter would restrict pedestrian movement, as one of the factors hampering more widespread installation.

In 2010, there were already 456 bus shelters around the islands – just 50 fewer than today – though a number of these shelters were older structures which have since been replaced.

According to operators Malta Public Transport, some 48 million passengers had used the bus service by the end of the year. That meant a 12 per cent increase compared to 2016.

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