Today, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Dr Ian Borg visited MCAST Campus in Paola to launch the BUS 20 campaign. This campaign will serve to promote the budget measure which will be offering free public transport as of 1st January 2018, for all 16-20-year-old tallinja card holders.
Following a successful scheme during the year 2017 which offered free public transport to 18-year-olds, in Budget 2018 the Government announced an extension of the benefit to a wider youth population. 5,000 18-year-olds benefitted from last year’s scheme, resulting in a total refund of €206,000 in credit by the Government to these same youths. Widening the scheme to benefit a substantially larger portion of youths is expected to have much greater effects, with those between 16 and 18 depending solely on public transport or family and friends for transportation, given that they do not yet possess a driver’s licence, expected to benefit the most from this financial aid. 28,000 individuals are eligible to benefit from this scheme. Anyone eligible applying for a tallinja card will get this free of charge.
Minister Borg said that this scheme will mean that families and youths will be saving on their transport costs. Being a student or having just entered the working world does not make it easy to purchase or maintain a private vehicle, and public transport will always be the means of transport to put the least amount of financial pressure on these youths and their families.
The Minister added that it is important to continue investing in our road infrastructure, as this will benefit both private vehicles and the public transport service which makes use of the same roads. This year, the Ministry will have more than quadrupled its budget for road infrastructure at around 60 million euro for the duration of 2018.
“We need to continue working towards improving the service and incentivising the people to use it. The people, from their end, need to choose public transport more frequently when this is possible,” the Minister said, adding, “I believe that youths have the energy to be the catalysing force for this required change in our transport culture. We need to work hand in hand to continue making our country better, for us and for future generations.”