The Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) on Friday evening launched the Raajje Transport Link (RTL) bus service in Vilimalé.
The RTL service was initiated in Vilimalé with six electric buses that it had earlier transported to the island. The service was officially launched by MTCC Chief Executive Officer Adam Azim.
At the ceremony held to launch the service, the MTCC CEO said that the company started the public transportation service in response to public demand and that Vilimalé residents had been vocal about the need for such a service on the island for years.
"The island lacked proper public transportation, and this was causing problems for many, especially the elderly and those with special needs, whether it was sunny or rainy. We launched this service because many people asked for it," explained Azim.
Vilimalé MP Mohamed Usham also said the launch of MTCC's RTL service brought an end to the difficulties locals have been facing for years. Additionally, a local from Vilimalé said that the new public transportation system would resolve logistical issues.
Another local who experienced the RTL bus service at its launch on Friday said that they were delighted that public transportation commenced on the island, and that they had been waiting for it for years.
MTCC will operate its RTL buses in Vilimalé free of charge for the first two weeks. The company is expected to announce the bus fares later, though a date has not been confirmed. However, MTCC adds that people above the age of 65, children below the age of three, and students in their school uniform can use the service free of charge.
The buses will make stops at the bus stops every five to ten minutes, MTCC said.
MTCC launched its bus services when the Malé City Council had already announced that it was preparing to launch a buggy service in February.