Malta
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Electric minibus to be tested on Maltese roads next week

Malta Public Transport will as of next week put into service a new electric minibus as part of its fleet electrification strategy.

Carrying up to 25 passengers, the electric buses will be operating on different routes and villages.

At 6 metres long, which is far smaller than the 9-12m buses on the roads, it is also narrower at 2.1m, when compared to the 2.5m width of the larger buses.

The pilot project will test the potential advantage of using smaller vehicles in smaller localities, enabling MPT and transport authorities to learn more about the suitability of these minibuses for future use.

The minibus will be initially tested on a number of existing routes, such as Route 106 which operates Attard, Lija, Balzan, Birkirkara, Mater Dei Hospital, and the University of Malta; Route 103 for Bidnija, Mosta, Naxxar, Bahar ic-Caghaq, and Pembroke; and Route 124 which operates between Marsaskala, Haz-Zabbar, Bormla, Birgu, and Isla.

Eventually, the minibus will also be tested on Gozo routes.

Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia said the government was heeding proposals from many stakeholders for smaller minibuses to be deployed in certain localities.

MPT operates a minibus in Valletta and an on-demand service in various localities, which has proven to be very popular with bus users. Now, several existing and new routes are being considered for the minibuses to also provide links between villages and key locations.

The aim is to connect villages to main bus terminals, improving connectivity.

The electric minibus will also be tested on ‘on-demand’ routes to establish whether it could compliment the bus fleet in this regard.

Last week MPT announced a €20 million investment in the electrification of the public transport system, with the inauguration of its first electric bus charging depot alongside the 30 new, fully electric, zero-emission buses.

In August 2023, a record 6 million passengers travelled by bus across the Maltese islands.

A probe by MaltaToday in July had indicated that buses were becoming more overcrowded, particularly on already busy routes that are also heavily frequented by tourists.

Back then ministry officials had confirmed that 17 bus routes were identified as requiring additional capacity, and while action was being taken on four of these routes the ministry had promised action on the remaining 13 routes through the introduction of 30 new electric buses which started operating in the past days.