Bus company receives €229 million in subsidies in eight years

Malta Public Transport, which runs the scheduled bus service, received €229 million in subsidies to fulfil the public service obligation

Malta Public Transport operates a bus service across Malta and Gozo
Malta Public Transport operates a bus service across Malta and Gozo

The company that operates the bus service has received €229 million in public subsidies in eight years of operation, information tabled in parliament shows. 

Malta Public Transport, which is fully-owned by Spanish company Autobuses de Leon, took over the bus service in 2015 after winning a public bid.

Under the terms of a public service obligation to operate a bus service across Malta and Gozo, the company received €23 million in subsidies in its first year of operation.

According to the information tabled in parliament by Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia in response to a question by Nationalist MP Chris Said, the subsidy increased to €29.2 million in 2016.

The subsidy remained static in 2017, increasing to €29.5 million in 2018. It increased again in 2019 to €30.4 million.

The subsidy climbed significantly to €37.3 million in 2020 only to contract to €34 million last year.

In 2022, Malta Public Transport received €15.7 million from the government until October.

Public transport became free of charge for Tal-Linja card holders in October, which will lead to an increase in subsidies.

In the budget presented last month, the Finance Minister has allocated €40 million in subsidies to cover the public service obligation – an increase of €2 million on the previous year’s allocation – and a further €14 million to cover Tal-Linja card expenses – an increase of €5.4 million over this year’s budget.