The Nationalist Party has promised to complete its 'trackless tram' project within five years of being elected, saying it would cost €2.8 billion. 

Bernard Grech compared the cost of the PN's flagship transport project to Labour's promised metro, saying it would be cheaper, link more localities and would take less time to get up and running.

"The trackless tram would cost Malta some €2.8bn as opposed to the €6.2bn for the metro," Grech told a news conference. This would work out at €16.5k per metre, compared with the metro's €175,000 per metre.

"The trackless tram will also link 45 localities, unlike the metro, which will only go through 21. It will be completed within the next legislature, if the PN is elected." By contrast, Labour's metro would take 20 years to complete, he said.

A trackless tram is often called a bus rapid transit system as it takes innovations from high-speed rail networks and puts them into a bus. It is designed to have better capacity and reliability than a conventional bus system and the PN has said their trackless tram would be fully electric. 

An artist's image of the trackless tram. Photo: PNAn artist's image of the trackless tram. Photo: PN

Grech also admitted some roads might have to be widened to make room for the trackless tram, but added that the existing infrastructure has already been widened and it would make no sense to not make use of what has already been built.

There would be no trackless tram in Gozo, but the party, he said, would keep monitoring the situation there. 

The trackless tram was first mentioned in the PN's manifesto when it launched last month but the detail of its cost and the images of the project were only revealed on Friday.  

It said it would also include an extensive underground road tunnel network should the party be returned to government.

Asked where the trackless tram would fit on Malta’s roads, Grech said there would be dedicated trams and assured there would not be the chaos that previous efforts to introduce such lanes had caused in the past. 

Other measures being proposed by the PN include offering families €10,000 over five years to get rid of their old vehicle and commit to not getting another one in that period, an increase in the number of rapid charging points for electric vehicles and a 20% reduction in the cost of charging them.

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