Minibus services to begin in three southern atolls

Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) has revealed that minibus services will begin in Addu City, Fuvahmulah City, and Laamu Atoll in July.

In 2021, MTCC signed a 50-year contract to operate bus services in the Greater Male’ Region, Addu, Fuvahmulah, as well as Gan, Fonadhoo and Isdhoo in Laamu Atoll. Bus services were previously provided in these areas by Maldives Ports Limited (MPL) but the services were halted for various reasons including the deteriorating condition of the buses. Currently, bus services for school children are operating between Feydhoo and Hithadhoo in Addu.

Speaking to PSM News, Chief Operating Officer (CEO) Adam Azim said that MTCC has made the order for the buses and that 34 of the vehicles will be specialised for service in the atolls. He said that minibusses with a capacity of 20-25 passengers will be used in the atolls and that the vehicles are designed for easy access and travel for people with disabilities. He said that the company made the decision to use minibusses based on the size of the roads of the islands. He added that MTCC is establishing bus stops and training recruits for the services.

Two of the buses are to be used for service between Isdhoo and Kalaidhoo, while seven buses will be used in Gan, five buses will be used in Fuvahmulah City, six buses will be used in Hulhumeedhoo, and 14 will be used in Feydhoo, according to MTCC.

Furthermore, Azim also revealed that Bank of Maldives (BML) cards and QR codes can be used to purchase bus transit-related payments from August. The decision was made as part of the agreement signed with BML and Mastercard to implement integrated transport management and an automatic fare collection system for the public transport service operated by MTCC. As such, contactless and digital payments will be introduced on the bus and ferry networks, making travelling simpler for commuters and cost-effective for service providers.

Using open-loop technology, travellers can make all payment transactions with one card without having to use multiple cards. With no need to use additional infrastructure to top up the card, travellers will not have to incur additional costs, which will provide more convenience and satisfaction to the passengers. The open-loop system allows institutions to view the number of travellers and other information in real-time. It will facilitate the further expansion of public transport services in the Maldives.

The initiative will make MasterCard the exclusive payment network for transit cards and MasterCard will also provide transit-related payments through all other networks accepted by BML. The first phase of the project involves connecting 14 islands in Haa Dhaalu Atoll with the open-loop technology and later connecting 41 islands including the bus and ferry services in the Greater Male’ Region.