Incentives launched to encourage use of bicycles as alternative transport
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A series of initiatives to encourage the use of bicycles have been launched by the Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna and Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg.
Minister Borg said that the Ministry is doing its utmost to incorporate cycle lanes in its major projects, such as the Kappara Junction and the Marsa Junction Project, as well as in other infrastructural works, where possible.
He added that, safeguarding cyclists and all other road users does not always permit implementing such lanes, especially when space is not adequate.
Minister Borg explained how his Ministry is incentivising individuals who opt to buy a pedelec or a motorbike. These will be given a one-time grant of €400. €100,000 are being allocated for this scheme, meaning that 250 individuals will benefit from this scheme.
Several proposals put forward by cyclist representative groups will be introduced, said Minister Borg, including the removal of the obligation to register a pedelec or low-power assisted pedal cycles with an electric motor having an output of not more than 250 watts.
He added that there will also be the removal of the payment of the annual road licence for pedelec, moped and light quad bike licences, and the removal of the obligation of using a bicycle helmet, especially when renting pedelecs.
The Minister said that the Ministry as well Transport Malta will nevertheless encourage people to make use of these helmets.
“We must continue working hard towards less air pollution, less congestion, and the promotion of alternative means of transport, so that the necessary shift in our transport culture can take place,” Minister Borg concluded.
Minister Scicluna spoke about VAT refunds, grants and tax deduction as part of his ministry’s initiatives towards a cleaner mode of transport.
He encouraged private companies which promote this alternative means of transport for commuting to and from work, to apply for this grant to invest in bicycle racks and showers.
Individuals who purchase a bicycle will get a refund on VAT up to €85 whilst those purchasing a pedelec or motorised bicycle will benefit from a VAT refund of up to €250. Minister Scicluna said that companies can now benefit from a similar scheme capped to €7,500.
Minister Scicluna concluded by saying that, “to further encourage the use of bicycles as means of alternative transport, even by tourists, we are lowering the VAT rate on bicycle rental services from 18 per cent to 7 per cent.”