Tax credits for school transport, intelligent traffic system, no bus fare increase

The budget speech refers specifically to the anticipation raised in the failed Arriva public transport system launch in 2011

The much-awaited new public transport system will be introduced next year, but the government is shying away from giving a fixed date.

Indeed, the budget speech refers specifically to the anticipation raised in the failed Arriva public transport system launch in 2011. There will be more bus routes and a better service is being promised.  23 million euros annually will be contributed as part of a public service obligation.

The price of bus tickets will not change and indication of a discounted price for a bundle of tickets is being mentioned. The government is saying that it intends to encourage more individuals to depend on the public transport system.

Traffic management

Addressing the issue of gridlocks, an Intelligent Management System will be introduced that will follow traffic flows in real time. The technology, costing some €8 million, will be supported by cameras that will be relayed to outdoor screens that will inform drivers of on-going traffic.  The aim is to avoid traffic congestion and gridlocks.

Car-pooling

A public private partnership between Transport Malta and a youth group to launch a new electronic site will be developed together with a mobile application.  The whole idea is aimed at promoting car-pooling in an effort to reduce the dependence and underutilisation of private cars.  Vehicles which use car-pooling will be encouraged to make use of bus lanes.  In the first stages of this initiative, schools destinations are being targeted.

Private school transport and parking policy

As a measure to incentivise the use of private school transport for church and private schools, the government will be offering a tax credit of €150 to all those who use this transport.

A white paper is to be launched to look into changing the opening hours of private schools.

No concrete measure on parking is being suggested, but a ‘parking policy’ will be debated with all the stakeholders.  A parking lot for 370 cars will be launched in Bormla and Birgu and managed as a public private partnership.  Two proposals have already been proposed, according to the budget speech.

VAT refund, scrapping of old vehicles, maritime traffic

The electoral promise and second tranche of payments for VAT paid for those vehicles purchased between May 1, 2004 and December 31, 2008 will be forwarded to those eligible.  The government has already paid €3.1 million in refunds.

Half a million euros will be allotted for refunding those who scrap their old vehicle. The target is for 600 people to benefit from this scheme.

Those who convert their commercial vehicle to ‘autogas’ will be given €200.  

To encourage the use of bikes and pedelecs the government will be refunding 15.25% of the price of the bike.

In a bid to encourage the use of maritime traffic, a public private partnership will be set up for the use of transport in the port area by means of water transport. The government is looking to enter into private partnerships that will lessen the pressure on road traffic and reduce pollution.

More in Budget 2015