Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 October, 2023 at 1:24 pm by Andre Camilleri
Malta Public Transport is currently conducting a pilot project designed to explore the potential benefits of utilising smaller, electric vehicles in localities and areas where current bus sizes may be less practical. The public transport company, in collaboration with local transport authorities, is using this pilot project to gain valuable insights on the adaptability and suitability of these minibuses for future transport endeavours. This pilot project was put in action following public feedback received through recent surveys conducted by Malta Public Transport as well as other organisations.
Capable of accommodating up to 25 passengers, the new electric minibus is already in operation on a variety of routes, serving different villages across the island. These include Route 106: serving Ħ’Attard, Ħal-Lija, Ħal Balzan, Birkirkara, Mater Dei Hospital, and the University of Malta; Route 103: connecting Bidnija, Mosta, Naxxar, Bahar iċ-Ċagħaq, and Pembroke; and Route 124: operating between Marsaskala, Żabbar, Cospicua, Vittoriosa, and Senglea. This service is only viable in localities with areas that have low passenger demand, predominantly due to the limit in carrying capacity of the minibuses, as well as limited to areas where the larger buses are unable to operate properly due to size constraints.
In the near future, the minibus will also be deployed on routes within Gozo, further expanding the scope of the pilot project study to encompass a variety of different scenarios.
Malta Public Transport has already experienced success when using smaller transport options such as the service run in Valletta and the on-demand services in various communities, both of which have gained significant popularity among commuters. Plans are underway to explore the integration of electric minibuses on both existing and potential new routes, with the scope of connecting villages to main bus terminals and bolstering transport links. This continues to complement the surge in passenger numbers that Malta Public Transport has been experiencing during the past months, reaching a peak of 6.1 million passengers in August 2023.
Furthermore, Malta Public Transport’s new electric minibus is being evaluated for its suitability in “on-demand” transport services, potentially complementing the existing bus fleet to enhance the flexibility and convenience of public transport.
This milestone announcement follows Malta Public Transport’s recent €20 million investment in the electrification of the public transport system, which included the inauguration of a new electric bus charging depot and the introduction of 30 new fully electric, zero-emission buses. This significant investment further emphasises the company’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint and create a more sustainable and eco-conscious public transport system for Malta.