NICOSIA (Xinhua) – Many commuters in Cyprus can now get a greener bus ride, as the first batch of 155 sleek blue and white low emission buses took to the roads for the first time yesterday.
The fleet of ‘King Long’ Chinese vehicles – all environment-friendly in line with the EURO 6 standard – was launched in the capital Nicosia and the coastal city of Larnaca.
“They drive beautifully, it was a very smooth ride,” one of the drivers at the Larnaca seafront bus station told Xinhua. “Today was the first day and I have absolutely no complaints, neither did the passengers.”
Operated by Cyprus Public Transport (CPT), the fleet is noticeably quieter than older vehicles, cutting noise for passengers as well as in the community.
Prior to the launch, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos lauded the development as a milestone in public transport on the Mediterranean island.
Besides environmental benefits, an important feature, given the recent COVID-19 pandemic, is the state-of-the-art automated cleaning process.
“The new buses carry increased security features, including sterilisation systems,” an Executive Engineer from the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works Aristotelis Savva told Xinhua. The system rapidly disinfects vehicles, eliminating any trace of potential viruses and pathogens.
“Certainly this is an improvement in terms of the quality of the fleet and in terms of safety,” Savva added. “Compared with the previous decade, when we had a mixture of new and older buses, this is a major upgrade.”
In Larnaca, which is currently basking in summer temperatures, the reception was enthusiastic, given the fleet also boasts air conditioning, Wi-Fi, USB charging points, and mobile apps for real-time information during the journey.
“Oh yes, this is a big improvement,” laughed student Ogwang Baba. “It’s first-class travel which is a different planet to what we have known. They are also good for folks with mobility problems, especially the old people.” In announcing the start of the routes, the CPT consortium pledged a safe bus experience, with all vehicles being disinfected every night.
The Cyprus Green Party welcomed the news that the fleet is equipped with eco-friendly, low-emission EURO 6 engines that minimise the environmental footprint.