In celebration of the fifth anniversary of the current public bus system, Mr Marios Demetriades, the transport minister, granted a free day’s travel throughout the island to all passengers last Friday. He participated in the celebration himself by taking a bus ride between his home in the outskirts, and Nicosia. He had made the same journey on other occasions he said, and that it would not be the last time he did so. It is hoped to improve what is on offer and encourage more usage overall. Mr Demetriades said that the government will either lease or buy 100 small sized buses which will be operated and maintained by the companies who currently operate on the bus routes, and also for the purpose of creating greater diversity of bus routes, replacing old dysfunctional buses and upping the frequency of buses where there was demand. Mr Demetriades acknowledged that there was room for improvements and the department was making every effort to realise their goals for the system.
Apart from the popular airport coaches that provide travel to and from Larnaca Airport and the larger towns, the buses carrying passengers between towns have been much appreciated.
The majority of passengers supporting these routes have been the elderly, young people travelling to and from their colleges and university, and tourists. Financial necessity has also brought more people to use public transport. Mr. Vladimiros Zavros, of the ministry team has stated that there has been an encouraging increase in people using buses island wide, with 23 million ticket sales noted in the year two thousand and thirteen. Some of the sales figures represent block sales such as to those who buy a one week or one month ticket for frequent journeys. He announced that it is hoped to swap the current system of purchasing tickets from the drivers in favour of a smart card system that could be topped up by the user. The addition of a Global Positioning System to give passengers advanced information about the next bus stop will also be incorporated into the buses further enhancing the level of service provided.
Some of the most enjoyable routes are along the coastal routes in the seaside towns especially Limassol, Pafos and Famagusta where tourists find them very convenient to travel to and from their holiday accommodation in order to visit the various markets, eateries and beaches without the worry of parking and allowing them to freely enjoy the local wines and spirits.
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