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Public transport revamp to get Cypriots out of cars

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The Transport Ministry wants to see more Cypriots opting to park their private vehicle in favour of hopping on a bus with an extended network of routes and smart solutions.

In comments to the Financial Mirror, a ministry source said that with the completion of a public transport revamp, following new concession agreements signed with bus firms, more people will prefer to take a bus.

The plans to alleviate traffic jams and clamp down pollutant emissions include more bus lanes and turning many main road arteries into one-way streets.

Meanwhile, introducing smart tech solutions makes public transport even more attractive to everyday commuters.

Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos confirmed that the infrastructure created today would make taking a bus more sensible than driving a car in city centres.

“Buses will not stop at junctions, as a smart traffic light system will sense when a bus is approaching, switching to green, allowing the bus to pass,” the minister had said.

The ministry will be calling for tenders for 125 such smart systems.

It has asked for a study concerning the current school hours and civil service timetables to reduce peak-hour congestion.

The ministry source said that authorities are pleased with a recent increase in bus trips, but they would not jump to conclusions.

Confirming data published in a Stockwatch report, the source said 1,171,311 bus trips were made across the island in April 2022.

In May, the number jumped to 1,460,594; in June, 1,488,814 trips were recorded.

In March 2021, amid the pandemic and lockdowns, 744,090 trips were taken. A year later, 960,973 bus journeys were logged.

“Unfortunately, last year was not a normal year due to COVID lockdowns and restrictions, so we cannot compare the figures.

“Furthermore, we would like to wait another eight months to see how the rollout of the new public transport network will fare with passengers,” said the source.

“With the introduction of smart cards, we will know whether Cypriots will be choosing to take a bus to work or the mall rather than using their own vehicle.”

The source also confirmed the number of buses serving the public transport network is composed of 181 Nicosia buses, 234 making routes in Limassol, 63 Larnaca-based journeys, 95 in Paphos and 77 in the Famagusta district.