The Malta Independent 15 October 2021, Friday

Budget 2022: Free public transport to all Maltese residents as from October 2022

Giuseppe Attard Monday, 11 October 2021, 19:47 Last update: about 4 days ago

• €3,000 increase in government electric vehicle grant as from Tuesday • 1,200 new charging points to be installed in the next three years

Starting from October 2022, public transport will be made free to all residents of Malta and Gozo. This is the next step in tackling the problems of traffic congestion, the Finance Minister said.

This would result in workers saving upwards of €300 yearly through this scheme. Malta would therefore become only the second country in the European Union to provide free public transport to its residents.

Apart from land transport, the government is also pledging improvement in sea transport in key areas in order to limit the dependency on combustion engine vehicles.

Following the success of the fast ferry service between Malta and Gozo, more piers will be constructed in order to create alternative routes around the island. Piers currently under construction in Sliema and Cospicua will be completed while new piers and promenades will be constructed in Vittoriosa and Kalkara, as well as a new breakwater in Bugibba.

 

Electric cars and plug-in hybrids

In a bid to incentivise the reduction of vehicle pollution and reach carbon neutrality by 2050, the government has added financial incentives to aid in the transition from combustion engine vehicles to greener options.

Anyone buying new electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles as from Tuesday will benefit from a €3,000 increase in the government grant.

This means that new owners of electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles will see an increase from €8,000 to €11,000.

In cases where this scheme is used together with the scrapping scheme, the government grant is increased by a further €1,000, bringing the total to €12,000. With regard to Gozo, the scrapping incentive is increased by a further €1,000, which means that a total of €13,000 would be given.

The government has also promised the extension of existing schemes with regard to vehicles that pollute less. These include the tax write-off on electric vehicle registration and the exemption of road licence payments for a period of five years from the first registration.

Starting from the year 2023, the capping for vehicles to be considered as plug-in hybrids is going to be increased from 30 kilometres battery autonomy to 50 kilometres.

The government also announced the extension of numerous measures on electric cars, electric scooters, motorcycles and also electric bicycles. The special rate for people who are charging their electric vehicles at home at night will also remain.

With regard to electric bicycles and also non-assisted bicycles, the tax reduction scheme is going to be extended. The same will apply when it comes to the incentives already in place for buying motorcycles, scooters, pedelecs and electronic motor assisted bicycles. The incentives for people who change their petrol vehicle to one that work on gas are also going to be extended.

Vehicles which are wheelchair accessible and are electric, plug-in hybrid or run on gas will also see an extension in their measures and incentives. This applies to wheelchair accessible vehicles which are available for rent or used against a compensation.

Another scheme is on the installation of photovoltaic panels on vehicles such as minibuses, coaches and trucks. Users who make us of this scheme will benefit from up to a maximum of €900 in government grants.

Minibus, coach and truck owners could also benefit from a new scheme to reduce emissions with the introduction of new diesel filters which improve the catalytic converters of the concerned vehicles.

The government has also pledged to assist businesses to transform their vehicle fleet to new electric vehicles.

Malta Enterprise is going to introduce a scheme to assist businesses in buying new electric vehicles by covering part of the difference in price that exists between combustion engine cars and electric cars. This scheme will only be eligible for businesses when they are replacing their existing vehicles.

 

Charging points and vehicle registration digitisation

The government will be installing 1,200 charging points across the country over the coming three years.

The government will invest in digitising the vehicle and vessel registration systems in our country, due to an average of 800 vehicles being registered in Malta every month.

Updates to the vessel tracking system and boat registration are also to be done in order to keep up with the needs of Transport Malta and the armed forces.

 

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