Non-EU Y-plate drivers will need Maltese licence to work under new stricter rules

Transport Ministry issues new regulations for cab drivers including new testing procedures and licence requirements • Consultation underway to have new Y-plate cars be fully electric from 2025

File photo
File photo

Foreigners applying to work as cab drivers in Malta, will not be allowed to do so if they do not have a European Union driving license, under newly issued regulations.

Individuals from outside the EU will no longer qualify for the Transport Malta issued tag for Y-plate cars, and will need to undergo a driving test.

Previously, non-EU nationals would qualify for the tag, and have a period of one year to apply and get an EU driving licence.

The transport ministry said the new rules aim to better regulate the sector to ensure the service offered is of the highest quality and safety.

The ministry also announced starting 17 July, the course, curriculum and testing for individuals to offer cab riding services will be updated. No new tests or applications will be accepted and carried out before the date.

Tests will be carried out at the Transport Malta building.

The authorities will also be intensifying inspections to ensure Y-plated vehicles are being kept in line with regulations.

As of 23 July, cab operators will have to annually present the site plan of the garage where they are parking vehicles which they are not using. The site plan will have to clearly show the spaces for cars being used exclusively by the operator.

The architect must confirm the spaces are being used to park cars being used by the operator for cab services.

The ministry also announced drivers will only be allowed to leave their vehicles unattended in white-boxed parking spaces for a maximum of one hour.

As of July 23, Y-plate cabs will also be forbidden from waiting for bookings within 100 metres of white taxi stands, with that distance increasing to 250 metres in key areas such as the airport, Valletta cruise port or ferry landings. The minimum distance will be enforced using geofencing technology to define virtual boundaries where ride-hailing is permitted. 

The ministry also stated that talks are underway to set a 2025 target date for which all new Y-plate vehicles must be electric. “Therefore, the future fleet of this industry would be among the first to be all-electric.”