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Cyprus

Bus services for soldiers will continue, minister pledges

BUS services for soldiers will continue no matter what, Defence Minister Fotis Fotiou has said, despite legal complications regarding an ongoing tender process.

“Our goal is to resolve the issue within five weeks, to make sure that our soldiers won’t be left without a bus service”, Fotiou said.

Bus companies, EMEL, OSEL and ZINON, which successfully appealed the tender process, argued that the transportation of soldiers should be conducted exclusively by buses belonging to licensed companies which carry out scheduled routes.

The bus companies’ position is backed by a decision made by the Tenders Review Authority, which stipulates that by law all public transportation should be conducted by licensed companies that carry out scheduled routes.

For that to change, the authority said, there must be a change in legislation.

Asked on whether budget cuts should be made on the bus service funding, Fotiou pointed out that “it’s not about the money”.

The minister explained that the funds were available and it was purely an issue regarding the tender process.

Fotiou went on to say that until the problem was dealt with, the ministry will take all necessary measures to make sure that not a single soldier was left without a bus service. “In the present financial situation, these kids need our support”, Fotiou added.

The issue is currently being discussed in the parliamentary committee on communications and works.

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