The Malta Independent 7 June 2023, Wednesday
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Proposed €12m public service contract for Gozo Fast Ferry to allow patients to use free of charge

Saturday, 1 October 2022, 09:37 Last update: about 9 months ago

A proposed public service contract for the Gozo Fast Ferry service will have a value of €12 million over two years and will allow patients who are receiving treatment at Mater Dei Hospital or the Gozo General Hospital to use the service free of charge.

In a press statement, government has said that it is committed to strengthening the Gozo fast ferry service which will include more frequency according to the needs of Maltese and Gozitan people.

The statement was issued on the same day that the two operators announced new schedules for trips from Valletta to Gozo under which the last ferry will be leaving the city at an early 4.30 pm on weekdays. The slashed timetable drew sharp condemnation from Gozitan lobby groups. 

In its statement, the government has been in discussion with the European Commission to help with the public service contract over two years. If approved, the agreement will include a new schedule with agreed upon prices which operators of the ferry cannot change.

The statement read that this service will offer another alternative for travelling between the two islands, which will bring advantages such as less use of cars to make the journey.

The fast ferry service does not include the possibility of travelling by car, which incentivizes customers to make use of public transport.

Patients who are receiving medical treatment at Mater Dei Hospital or the Gozo General Hospital will use the service free of charge, a measure from the PL electoral program.

It said that the service also offers a number of economic and environmental benefits, as the fact that its departure point is located in a central location in Valletta, it further encourages tourists to visit Gozo. It will also prove to remain convenient for Gozitans who work in Malta and save the journey from and to Cirkewwa every day.

“Government is choosing to financially support this service because it is considered beneficial for society, the environment and because it started operating in the extraordinary times of the pandemic and a war which had a strong negative impact. That is why the aid is focused on the next two years,” the statement read.

The service has received a good response leading to a discussion in a Parliament committee about the need to continue to strengthen it for a more efficient and sustainable service, it said.



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