Transport Minister Alexis Vafeades has labeled today as the year's worst day for traffic congestion, coinciding with the return of primary school students to their classes. In an effort to address the traffic woes and improve commuting for citizens working in Nicosia's city center, the Ministry of Transport initiated a new bus lane exclusively dedicated to buses, operational since September 4th, running from the GSP to Solomou Square.
Vafeades reported that the usage of this bus line has been steadily increasing day by day. On its inaugural day, it served 20 passengers, but as of September 11th, by 10:00 AM, a total of 90 commuters utilized this service. The ministry intends to target specific demographics to further boost bus ridership and alleviate traffic issues.
Regarding student transportation, plans are underway to establish bus routes to and from remote areas with lower fares before next September. In a pilot program called "Door to Door" in Strovolos, 200 students expressed interest, but only 70 drivers were found. The shortage of drivers remains a concern, and efforts are ongoing to recruit more, including the potential inclusion of 40 female bus drivers, pending agreements with bus companies.
The Ministry is also focusing on providing better services for the elderly. Vafeades emphasized their commitment to preserving the quality of life for elderly citizens who opt for bus travel. In September, a mobile phone service will be launched, allowing these individuals to easily contact a bus company and arrange their transportation.
Furthermore, preparations are underway for a service that will enhance transportation for persons with disabilities, ensuring their safety and comfort. Parents or guardians will have the ability to contact a bus company and arrange transportation for their children through this upcoming service.