Student group SDM wants free public transport extended beyond 18-year-olds

Student political group SDM says Budget 2017 lacks incentives for students in general to use public transport, says free bus scheme should be extended beyond 18-year-olds

Budget 2017 includes free public transport for all 18-year-olds
Budget 2017 includes free public transport for all 18-year-olds

Free public transport should be extended beyond 18-year-olds to a wider range of students including the current drivers, student group SDM said.

As announced in the Budget for 2017, all youths who turn 18 during 2017 will be entitled to a year’s worth of free public transport, with the government hoping that this will incentivize them not to rush into obtaining their driving licenses.

However, SDM – the Christian Democrat group -  warned that this proposal alone will not reduce cars from the Maltese streets or reduce traffic in general.

“We are slightly disappointed at the lack of incentives offered to students in general to encourage them to use public transport,” SDM said. “We hope that this is a pilot project, which will then be extended to a wider range of students should it prove effective. Consequently, in the lack of incentives for current student drivers, we believe that the former will continue to use their personal cars.”

Elsewhere, SDM welcomed new capital projects at the University of Malta – notably the construction of a new University Residence and community car park, and the extension of the Materials Engineering Lab, the Maths and Physics building and the multi-faith room – as well as planned renovations of the Valletta and Junior College campuses. However, it said that research at the University was not prioritized.

The student group also criticised the government for failing to follow up on its proposal for students to receive discounts when purchasing bicycles and scooters.