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Cyprus

Government seeks tenders for new public transport system

Photo: CNA

The government on Tuesday launched the tenders process for a new public transport system for the period 2020-2030. Existing contracts expire in July 2020.

The call to tenders seeks to put a new, improved, public transport system in place.

According to the transport ministry the aim is to “better serve passengers, to safeguard the interests of the state and, consequently to tackle the problems that have arisen during the implementation of the existing contracts”.

Since its introduction around 10 years ago, the public transport system has been plagued with problems and has failed spectacularly to provide a decent service.

It quickly emerged that the model guaranteed high returns to the bus companies, made up of bus owners, regardless of how costly their operations were.

Big salaries were paid to family members who were given executive posts, bus drivers were paid wages that had no bearing on the laws of supply and demand, and petrol-guzzling buses were bought.

As the economic crisis took hold, the state sought to rationalise the system, leading to frequent driver strikes over delays in getting paid as companies appeared to hold back in a bid to win more cash from the state.

The transport ministry said the new system will extend the network and provide more frequency. The buses will run for longer hours to cover business, commercial and tourist activities. New buses will be more environmentally friendly and more accessible. There will be new bus shelters with telematics, and more rational pricing, meaning the higher cost of the new system will result in higher fares.

The government believes the higher costs will be justified by the increased routes, new buses and better service that will prompt Cypriots to finally begin opting for public transport.

Submission of tenders is expected to be completed in October, followed by evaluation and awarding of contracts. The process is expected to be completed with the signatures of the contracts in December 2019.

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