The Malta Transport Ministry has confirmed that negotiations will officially start with preferred bidder Autobuses Urbanos de Leon, on the concession for Malta's public transport system.
|A vehicle in service with Spanish operator Autobuses Urbanos de Leon|
Island Malta Buses Ltd is a consortium formed by eight private and bus coach operators. Island Buses Malta Limited (IBML) said it would not contest the government's choice of preferred bidder.
In April, three companies submitted their bids to operate Malta’s public transport service and included Gozo First Travel, which according to The Times was only interested to operate the service in Gozo.
It remains unknown how much government is paying for the temporary service being provided before the new operator is selected.
The public transport service was nationalised in the beginning of 2014 after Arriva transferred its assets to government. From information tabled in parliament, it was revealed that in the first two months, Malta Public Transport Services Ltd made €7,272,138 in operational expenses.
When the national public transport company took over the Arriva Malta operations for a nominal €1, Malta Public Transport Services Ltd absorbed €7.9 million in total debts.