The government yesterday announced six tenders for a new public transport system in Cyprus for the period 2020-2030 with the decade-long contracts to be signed ranging between €800 million to €1.2 billion. Existing contracts expire in July 2020.
Preliminary texts of the new tenders were published back in October 2017, but many modifications and improvements have followed since then.
The final ones published yesterday have ambitious deadlines as submission of bids is expected to be completed on October 4, followed by evaluation and awarding of contracts. The process is expected to be completed with the signatures of the contracts in December 2019.
The Ministry of Communications and Works apparently believe they will be able to review and evaluate bids for the six different contracts within a month. And that they subsequently conclude all negotiations with the six selected contractors who will have six months to carry out all necessary preparations before they start work on July 5, 2020.
These are timetables that do not correspond to the reality of public tenders in Cyprus, according to insiders. Especially in view of the complexity of the six tenders as well as the overall cost which is in the billions. The Ministry’s challenge is big considering that existing contracts expire on July 4, 2020 and there is no provision for an extension.
The transport base of the new contracts remains the same; Cyprus is divided into five districts plus intercity buses. At the same time, public passenger transport is being upgraded, with an extension of the service and traffic growth network and frequencies, the use of newer buses, and improved standards for accessibility and reduction of pollutants.
A contractor is allowed to sublet up to 30% of his fleet by other owners, while 70% of the fleet should be privately owned.
The ministry believes the new system will extend the network and provide more frequency. Plus, the buses will run for longer hours to cover business, commercial and tourist activities and that the new buses will be more environmentally friendly and more accessible.
There will be more rational pricing, meaning the higher cost of the new system will result in higher fares. Thus, the higher costs will be justified by the increased routes, new buses and better service that will prompt Cypriots to finally begin opting for public transport.
The call for tenders also includes clauses for the use of state-of-the-art technology which will allow for the collection of information regarding bus routes (telematics).