Traffic woes: Budget suggests 9am start for unspecified transportation services

Decreasing the number of vehicles on the road at rush hour might require certain cars not to be out on the road before 9am

In a bid to address traffic congestion which is recognised as “one of the greatest challenges facing the country”, the budget suggests that a number of services are not provided before 9:00am, thus decreasing the number of vehicles on the road at rush hour. This measure will be implemented following discussions with the stakeholders concerned.

The budget also reiterates environmentally friendly schemes to the tune of €50 million in EU funding aimed at encouraging a shift towards electric mobility and reducing the average age of the fleet.  The Finance Minister expressed satisfaction that the number of registered electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles now exceeds 10,000 vehicles which is the equivalent of less than 3% of the entire car fleet.

The Finance Minister frankly admitted that free public transport for all residents in Malta as introduced earlier this month will only be a success, if accompanied by a change in the public’s behaviour and greater enforcement on the roads. More investment is promised in the electrification of the bus fleet.

Grants for electric cars renewed

The financial grant to encourage the purchase of new electric vehicles will be renewed and anyone buying a new vehicle, including motorcycles, powered by electric motors will be entitled to a grant of € 11,000 and up to €12,000 in case the vehicle scrapping scheme is used as well.  Other schemes incentivising the purchase of mopeds, pedelecs and bicycles assisted by an electric motor will also be renewed.

While the grants for plug-in hybrids were exhausted last May, anyone who ordered a plug-in vehicle before the end of May but whose vehicle will arrive in 2023 will still receive a grant of €11,000.

The financial grant of the scrapping scheme for dirty vehicles will remain the one of € 2,000. Extension of schemes in favour of lighter motorcycles

For the next year electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles will remain exempt from registration tax and exempt from payment of the annual road licence for a period of 5 years from the date of first registration.

Minibuses, coaches and trucks who instal solar panels will remain eligible fora €900.

Fast ferry discussions with EU

The budget reiterates the government’s commitment to improve the fast ferry service and for this aim is   in discussions with the European Commission to be in a position to issue a public service contract with fixed and affordable prices for the next two years.

The budget also refers to the already announced development of a 445-metre long Rural Airfield in Gozo.