Vehicles with Y-plate registration will not be fined for on-street parking during the day until a solution which allows limited on-street parking is found, Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia said on Wednesday. 

He was reacting to complaints that transport enforcement officers were cracking down on cabs and similarly registered vehicles that parked on public streets, with the infringements costing drivers €500. 

Times of Malta reported on Tuesday how one cab driver received a €500 fine for “on-street illegal parking” after stopping for ten minutes to use the bathroom. “This law goes against workers’ rights. What will we do now in the summer heat? Can we not buy a bottle of cold water or drink?” one cabbie who received the fine said. 

Answering questions during a panel discussion organised by Times of Malta discussing the way forward for public transport, Farrugia said that the government was actively working on a solution to tackle the issue faced by cab drivers. 

The law, Farrugia explained, laid down that Y-plated vehicles must start and end their journey in a garage and parking on the street is not permitted. 

“Night inspections by Transport Malta found many Y-plated vehicles parked on the streets overnight, which is illegal. The same principle applies during the day and this is the law they were enforcing,” he said. 

“Now I understand that a number of people who stopped to buy pastizzi or use the bathroom came back to find a hefty ticket. We are working on a system that will allow drivers a limited time to park on the street, but we are certainly not going to permit Y-plate vehicles to park on-street all night long.” 

Farrugia said that the plan will likely involve some sort of clock or timer system, similar to the system already in use in other areas where parking is time-restricted during certain hours. 

The idea was first suggested by ride-hailing platform eCabs and the cab driver lobby group Light Passenger Transportation Vehicles Committee.

When asked, he could not give a timeline on when such a system would  be introduced, saying that the government was still working on it and that it would then have to be approved by cabinet and published as a  legal notice.

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