More than 50% increase in use of ferries since 2015

A total of 1.3 million ferry passenger trips were registered in 2017, increasing from 843,000 in 2015 and just 66,000 in 2012.

(File photo)
(File photo)

The number of people using ferries to get from one place to the next has increased by 54.21% since 2015, according to figures provided by the Transport ministry.

A total of 1.3 million ferry passenger trips were registered in 2017, increasing from 843,000 in 2015 and just 66,000 in 2012.

In recent years, Malta has experienced a drastic increase in the number of foreign workers, which, when added to an increase in tourist numbers, has resulted in gridlock on Malta’s roads.

The government has pledged to invest €700 million in redoing all of Malta’s roads, and while this has been welcomed by a considerable portion of the population, others have insisted that the government is not doing enough to promote the use of public transport.

The ministry said that so far in 2018, 2.5 million more passenger trips were registered when compared to the same period of the year before. There were 48 million passenger trips in 2017.

Majority of schemes taken up by public

On Saturday, the government announced that it would be extending its grant scheme for individuals wishing to purchase environmentally friendly vehicles by 0.5€ million.

It said the aim of the scheme was to improve air quality by reducing old cars and promoting the use of battery electric vehicles and quadricycles.

Launched earlier this year through Transport Malta, the scheme had initially been allocated €0.5 million, with 98 applications having been accepted.

Commenting on the scheme extension, Transport minister Ian Borg stressed that the government was committed to improving infrastructural design and investment in public transport, while also incentivising investment in cleaner private transport alternatives.

The ministry said that up to €200,000 would also be made available for commercial companies that choose to change their vehicle fleet to electric vehicles. The scheme, the ministry said, is applicable to private car owners, registered NGOs, the business community and local councils.

There are currently 104 charging points around the island, with a further 450 points expected to be installed “over a period of time” by Car2Go Israel, a ride-sharing company which signed an agreement with Transport Malta earlier this year.

The ministry said that there had been a good response to a number of similar schemes issued by the government this year.

A total of 110 applications were received for purchasing electric bicycles and motorcycles, while 723 individuals opted to scrap their car in exchange for a new vehicle.

Of these, 76 applied to scrap their car and replace it with a hybrid vehicle with emissions between 40 and 65g/km. A further 289 replaced their vehicle with one emitting between 101 and 130g/km, while 394 opted for a car with an emission level of up to 100g/km.

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