The Valletta bus terminus could be moved to the nearby St James Ditch as early as December, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Austin Gatt said today.

He said the area around the Tritons Fountain would be pedestrianised in keeping with the Piano project for City Gate, while the terminus would be moved a few metres down to the area occupied by the open market on Sundays.

He said the new terminus would be much smaller than the present one because the transport reform would see fewer idle buses. The terminus would also have better facilities, with rest areas for drivers, passengers and transport officials. The kiosks will be relocated and will be of a higher standard than at present.

Dr Gatt said that it was estimated that there would be some 15 buses in the parking/embarkation bays at any one time. Idle buses would be parked around the corner in the ditch bordering Glormu Cassar Avenue.

He said that if Mepa issued its permits by May, the project would be completed by December.

Total cost is expected to be just over €3 million, which would be 66 percent less than the original proposal, made some years ago, for the terminus to be moved underground at City Gate, Dr Gatt said.

The terminus project was added to the Renzo Piano brief when the Prime Minister and Dr Gatt met the architect in Paris.

"This will be a transformation like we saw at Palace Square. Instead of a cemetery of old buses, we will have a pedestrianised Tritons Fountain open space for the people to enjoy," Dr Gatt said.

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