Nicosia Mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis on Tuesday rejected claims that the newly launched mini bus service into the old town had been shut down over the lack of an operating licence.
Yiorkadjis also pointed out that there are objections from specific people who, due to competition, do not want the bus network to operate.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Municipality of Nicosia said that in accordance with the Road Traffic Law, it had secured a licence for 15 vehicles with full insurance coverage since 2010.
“We have secured a temporary license to use the vehicles for the provision of the service in the Nicosia centre. Therefore, the mini buses can and will continue to run on a trial basis,” the announcement said.
The mini buses started operating on a trial basis on Monday. Unlike the bigger buses which can only get to Solomou Square, the 13 mini buses will be able to negotiate the narrow roads in the old part of the city.
The 22-seater buses are fully air-conditioned and have the facilities to transport wheelchair users and strollers. They also have racks for bikes.
The service is available free of charge during the trial period. No decision has yet been made about what the charge will be later on.
The aim is to revitalise the historic centre by improving accessibility through sustainable means of transport and gradually reduce the number of cars within the walls.
The trial period will be used to detect and correct problems before their official operation. After a few days, passengers will be asked what they think about the timetables, the routes and the service in general.
The municipality said on Tuesday in cooperation with organisations for people with disabilities, 15 issues have been identified that need to be fixed to facilitate access for the disabled.
After any other changes deemed necessary have been made the municipality expects to officially start the service in about a month.