Six fully electric buses purchased by the Gozo ministry for almost €1.7 million in EU funds have been gathering dust in a government compound in Xagħra for 18 months with no plan for their use.

The intention was to use the buses to ferry passengers from a park and ride facility to the Mġarr ferry terminal and back.

The tender had been published in November 2018 and the contract with the supplier signed in April 2019.

The buses were delivered to Gozo in June last year and parked in a government-owned compound near Ġgantija Temples, in Xagħra. At the time, Justyne Caruana was Gozo minister.

According to documentation seen by Times of Malta, the Foton AUV buses were imported by Commercial Vehicles Imports Limited, a company owned by TUM Invest, an offshoot company of the Tumas Group owned by the Fenech family.

Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri told Gozitan Nationalist MP Chris Said in parliament in October last year the plan was to use the buses to transport Gozitans travelling to Malta who would be able to leave their cars at a park and ride facility the government was planning for the area known as Ta’ Xħajma, between Nadur and Xewkija, and then get the bus to Mġarr.

Camilleri said his ministry was coordinating with the transport minister so the buses can be used to transport Gozitan students from various localities to the Mġarr harbour.

The discussions have been ongoing for more than a year and there seems to be no end in sight.

Said asked Camilleri to explain why the company which supplied the electric buses was then given a direct order to the tune of just over €217,000 to provide charging stations for the vehicles.

The minister replied that the company supplier could ensure the chargers were compatible with the unused buses.

He also said that the buses, although not used, were still being charged in line with a maintenance plan.

Questions sent to the Gozo ministry asking why the six electric buses have not been used for so many months remained unanswered by the time of writing.

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