Comino Ferries Coop was only bidder for new Comino Service
Reference is made to inaccuracies contained in press reports stating that Comino ferry operators are upset because Transport Malta has granted an exclusive permit to one company.
The facts are as follows:
Comino Ferries Coop, made up of four ferry operators, was the only operator to bid for a tender issued by Transport Malta last July for a single entity to run the Comino ferry service from Marfa and Cirkewwa.
The tender set out a number of conditions, including: the use of new eco vessels, a fixed schedule, increased frequency, extending the summer timetable from 6pm till 8pm and broadening the nature of the service to operate to Santa Maria Bay in addition to the Blue Lagoon.
The provision of ferry services to Comino has been unregulated for decades – which has given rise to haphazard, unreliable and erratic operations – and all other operators had been offered the opportunity to submit a bid when the tender was issued. None chose to do so.
Since it satisfied compliance requirements, Comino Ferries Coop was duly selected by Transport Malta as the sole operator. Contrary to claims, this exclusivity is restricted to departures from Marfa and Cirkewwa, while pick-ups for the purposes of pleasure, fishing or diving are not affected.
Comino Ferries Coop has also committed to investing €5 million in new hybrid vessels which are safer, more comfortable and environmentally friendly as well setting up a central ticketing system.
A spokesman for the Comino Ferries Coop said: “Visitors stand to benefit enormously from the new service. Not only will they enjoy improved comfort and reliability, but for the first time they will also be able to visit two locations in Comino for the price of a single ticket – which will also relieve the ever-growing pressure on the Blue Lagoon in the summer months.”