Nicosia, Larnaca get revamped bus service

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Cyprus public transport is being overhauled with Nicosia and Larnaca set to enjoy an improved bus service with better frequency and more routes.

The Transport Ministry has assigned Nicosia and Larnaca’s bus routes to a newly formed consortium that goes live on Sunday 5 July with work on the new networks completed by the end of the year.

Cyprus Public Transport Company (CPTC), as the contractor is named, is a consortium consisting of Kapnos Airport Shuttles Ltd and MLKP Malta Lines. It is investing €40 mln on a brand new fleet of 220 buses.

The consortium has a contract to run Nicosia and Larnaca’s bus services for the next 10 years following an open tender process.

Welcoming the development, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos, said in a written statement: “The imminent launch of the new ‘Public Transport Services by Bus’ on July 5, 2020, is a milestone for Cyprus.”

The design of the new bus network envisages increased frequency of public transport on the main routes with services operating up to 18 hours a day.

CPTC will be introducing the ‘last mile’ services which allow passengers to hop off the bus at its final destination and rent a bicycle or take a taxi to cover the ‘last miles’ of their journey.

The consortium operating the routes will provide transport at the final destination such as bike rental or taxi service at competitive prices.

Passengers choosing to ride the bus can also benefit from the Park & Ride service which will allow them to park their vehicles at certain points and continue their journey on a bus.

Public transport in Nicosia and Larnaca will become easier with the introduction of a new smart electronic top-up card dubbed ‘Motion’.

As the Minister said, the contractor is obliged by the agreement to invest in upgrading the public transport network.

“In order to make buses a real choice for citizens, the foundations must be laid, and a number of infrastructure works must take place in advance, such as the creation of quality systems that will support proper management, as well as continuous staff training”.

Karousos also noted that under the new agreements, the contractor has established a fleet of buses which offer, among other things, accessibility to passengers on wheelchairs, seats designed for parents with strollers and allow easy access to passengers with disabilities.

“Announcements will also be made in different languages to serve the non-Greek-speaking passenger.”

CPTC will be using the same staff as the previous contractor, which they will hire on the same terms for at least a year.

Karousos said existing measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 will continue on public transport, while larger buses have their own sterilization systems.