Budget 2024: Government to prohibit certain vehicles on the road before 9am

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana acknowledged the problematic overuse of private cars while listing measures aimed at easing traffic congestion during rush hour 

The finance minister stated that government is searching for ways to ease the flow of traffic
The finance minister stated that government is searching for ways to ease the flow of traffic

Government is currently finalising a plan in order to ensure that certain services that require road access do not start before 9:00am to ease traffic, however, it is not yet clear which services will be impacted. 

During his budget speech, finance minister Clyde Caruana announced this as the result of a consultation process with a number of stakeholders to reduce traffic during rush hour. 

Caruana also stated that government is also revising the Transport Masterplan which includes a number of investments and measures which will bring about government’s vision for the transport sector by 2030.  

The finance minister also mentioned government’s €35 million investment in the creation of a cycling network, pedestrian infrastructure, and overall embellishment projects in urban spaces within a five-year period. 

Minister Caruana acknowledged the fact that traffic congestion and the religious use of private cars are the two main challenges Malta faces with regards to transportation. Therefore, Caruana announced that in 2024, government will conduct a study and possibly implement a new parking zone model which relies on public-private partnerships. These partnerships, Caruana said, will also include a number of services to the community in one central hub. 

Similarly, the finance minister said that government will explore the possibility of park-and-ride zones specifically for university students through a partnership with Kunsill Studenti Universitarji. Caruana also said that government will be launching a study and a public consultation to see how Valletta could be made more accessible. 

For the first time, government will incentivise the purchasing of e-kick scooters. This comes as government had announced a ban on rental e-kick scooters starting from March 2024. 

On incentivising more sustainable vehicles, Caruana said that government is going to extend the current schemes that incentivise the purchase of new electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Here, the finance minister announced that over 13,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles have been sold so far. 

Caruana further explained that electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles that can go 50km or more after being charged once, will keep being exempt from registration tax, as well as license renewal fees for the first five years since registration.  

Meanwhile, scrappage fee schemes, incentives on electric bicycles, and incentives for drivers to switch from petrol to gas-powered vehicles will also be extended, Caruana said. Government will also continue to incentivise vehicles (such as taxis) that are wheelchair accessible. 

On free public transport, Caruana said that government will analyse the impact of free public transport in order to enhance the service. Government is also currently studying the public transport network to see if priority lanes can be created in certain areas, which would reduce travel time.