A court hearing to resolve a fight between bus companies and the government’s decision to award the 2020-2030 contracts to new businesses has been postponed until December 23.
The appeal by the companies is the latest attempt for them to hold on to their contracts which expire on July 4, 2020.
Bus companies OSEA of Famagusta, OSEL of Nicosia and OSEL of Larnaca are appealing the transport ministry’s decision to award contracts for public transportation services for Nicosia, Larnaca, Famagusta and intercity routes to the MLKP (Malta Lines and Kapnos Airport Shuttle Ltd) consortium.
The 10-year contracts – for the period 2020 to 2030 – are worth a reported €700m.
Reports indicate that the company Zenon is also expressing interest in the contracts and they may fight the moves in court as well.
The new Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said that the issues raised in the past few days by the companies will be answered by the state shortly.
The minister expects that within two weeks the issues should be clarified, but that the ministry will prepare for either outcomes – win or lose.
Officials from bus companies admit that it will be a difficult task to overturn the decision, but say they are prepared to fight to the end.
According to Karousos the transport ministry will not move ahead with further contracts until a decision has been made by the supreme court.
At the end of November it was announced that MLKP had submitted the most economically advantageous tender.
According to the new contracts, employees of the companies will be transferred over to the new business, therefore protecting their status.
The three bus companies, who are the current contractors in those districts, have already won temporary court injunctions prohibiting the transport ministry from moving ahead and signing the new contracts with MLKP.