Nicosia bus network deal frozen by court order

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An administrative court order has imposed a freeze on the Ministry of Transport’s decision to award the tender for the management of the capital’s public bus system for 2020-30 to a consortium composed of Malta Lines and Kapnos Airport Shuttle.

The court order was issued at the request of the Transport Organization of the Nicosia District (OSEL), currently running the capital’s bus network.

OSEL filed an appeal seeking the annulment of the Ministry’s decision to award the Malta Lines – Kapnos Airport Shuttle consortium the Nicosia contract over a breach of the rules.

The court order is provisional, and it will revisit the case next week, once the Ministry of Transport submits its defence.

If the decree is made permanent the Transport Ministry will not be able to move forward with the restructuring of the bus network under the tender process.

Reportedly, the tender for the bus routes of the Nicosia district for 2020-2030, was awarded to the consortium in return for €259 mln compensation, while OSEL’s offer stood at €264 mln.

OSEL’s lawyer, Nicos Papaefstathiou, stated in court that the consortium’s offer should not have been considered as it was in breach of several terms included in the call for tenders.

It is expected that the other three contracts awarded to the same consortium, to manage the bus networks for Famagusta and Larnaca and the Intercity bus network, are also to be challenged in the immediate future.

The winning bidders were to take over the capital’s bus network as of 4 July 2020, while contracts were expected to be signed before Christmas.