The Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) on Tuesday announced plans to launch bus services in Vilimalé in January. MTCC's announcement comes almost immediately after Malé City Council announced that it will be launching a buggy service in February.
The council shared a video of a buggy on Twitter stating it will acquire 10 buggies by late January to commence its public transport operation next month.
As part of Malé City Council’s strategic action plan, the buggy service will include two vehicles for carrying luggage and cargo and one specific for emergency responses. The first batch includes three four-seaters, three six-seaters, and one 12-seater, all of which come with longer battery lives, the council said.
Meanwhile, MTCC confirmed it will be bringing six environmentally-friendly 11-seater buses specific to the Vilimalé landscape.
“Additionally, the vehicles will provide space for four passengers to travel while standing, granting a total of 15 passenger capacity in these EV-buses,” MTCC statement read.
“We are hope to launch the services before January ends and we will be publishing the RTL map and bus schedule in the coming days,” MTCC added.
Dr. Muizzu criticised the MTCC for announcing the start of their bus services so quickly after the City Council completed preparations to launch their own transport services. The mayor alleged this was the corporation’s attempt to interrupt the decentralisation system, and criticised the government for being uncivil.
“The public of Vilimalé do not wish for buses to operate there,” the mayor said.
Malé City Council announced its decision to operate transportation service in Vilimalé in August 2022, citing the inefficiency of Ninety Nine Holding, the company responsible for operating buggies in Vilimalé.
The previous buggy operator claimed it faced difficulties in providing the service because the council failed to fulfil its responsibilities, which include creating bus routes and vehicle stops.
The council filed a lawsuit against Ninety Nine Holding at the Maldives Civil Court to terminate their contract. The operator has, however, challenged the lawsuit claiming City Council was seeking to terminate their agreement in breach of the contract.