Cyprus Mail

Protests over new bus system go to the wire

The new-style bus for public transport

The new public transport company Cyprus Public Transport has announced it will start operating on July 5 with brand new buses in the Larnaca and Nicosia districts, but the bus companies which had the contracts until now continued to protest the new arrangements on Monday.

“The sloppiness with which the entire ministry of transport handled the whole issue even led the court to consider the evaluation committee as ‘insufficient’,” the unions’ statement said.

“An inadequacy that will cost the public millions of euros in compensation and the only opportunity to move forward with the realisation of the great goal of European public transport.

“They will create a real mess with incalculable financial losses and risk the whole country being left without public transport,” the unions warned.

According to the unions, the ministry of transport has signed the contracts for Nicosia and Larnaca with a joint venture that has been annulled three times in the administrative court, a fact that will almost certainly cost the taxpayer millions of euros in compensation.

In the case of Famagusta and Intercity buses, they argue, the competent ministry has failed to sign the contracts “even though both companies have been vindicated in the administrative court!”

As regards Limassol’s Emel and Paphos’ Osypa, the ministry has “for ridiculous reasons rejected the offers of Emel and Osypa”.

“All this, only five days before the supposed start of the new decade of public transport.”

The five bus companies, Emel, Zenon, Intercity, Famagusta’s Osea and Paphos’ Osypa along with Nicosia’s Osel, had thus far held the public transport concessions but most of them lost out to MLKP consortium, comprising Malta Lines and Kapnos Airport Shuttle Services. The current contracts, for the 2010-2020 period, are due to expire on July 4. The next ten-year concessions will be valid from July 2020 to July 2030.

The consortium was initially awarded four contracts to operate public transport in Nicosia, Larnaca, Famagusta, and the intercity routes for the period 2020 to 2030, but the current holders of these services challenged the validity of the competition, each with court procedures.

The court ruled in favour of MLKP for Larnaca and Nicosia with the company announcing that it will be assuming operations of these bus routes as of July 5.

Then in April and May, the Larnaca Zenon bus company called on the government to cancel the tender procedure for the new public transport contract for the town citing irregularities in the applications of the successful tender.

The company said that the successful tender, MLKP consortium, had prepared and submitted the required business plan for the transfer and implementation of the contract on its own and not via an experienced auditing firm and an independent approved auditor, as per the terms of the tender, so the whole procedure must be considered void.

The company demanded the attorney-general look into the conditions under which MKLP gained its contract and potential manipulation by members of his office.

They also called on the auditor-general to examine how his office was excluded from a public tender, costing taxpayers €1.2 billion.



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