The obligation on cab operators to place their cars in commercial garages when not in use will now only apply to those with five cars or more, according to a legal update announced by Transport Malta.

All Y-plates, as cabs are often known, still need to be garaged, but operators with up to four cars may use residential garages.

The new rule effectively exempts smaller fleets from an obligation that had long gone unenforced, and comes following uproar among cab operators and calls for action by the public, with photos of Y-plates parked in non-commercial garages becoming a common sight on social media.

Mantvydas Narusevicius / Photo by Inigo Taylor

“Government did a good job here,” says WFDM CEO Mantvydas Narusevicius, telling BusinessNow.mt that the threshold “makes a lot of sense”.

Among other business ventures, Mr Narusevicius manages a fleet of 32 vehicles.

He argues that running a fleet of five cars essentially amounts to a good-sized business, likely having anywhere from 10 to 14 drivers and “easily” generating €400,00 to €500,000 in annual revenue.

“If you’re turning half a million gross, you’re a business, and need to be regulated like a business,” he says.

The entrepreneur believes that the Maltese authorities “really did their homework” and calculated a threshold that is “very favourable” to small operators and the self employed.

However, communication remains a problem: “The economy is a bit like Bitcoin,” Mr Narusevicius says, referring to the notoriously volatile cryptocurrency. “Someone says something, and people start panicking. In fact, many were trying to sell their cars last week out of fear of the impact of the new rules.

“Better, more timely and more transparent communication would have prevented that.”

The bottom line, Mr Narusevicius, says, is that five cars is a “substantial investment generating substantial income”, and it makes sense that operators at that level should abide by all the regulations covering the sector.

“It’s very fair.”

Related

euros money

Inflation continues downward trend

May 23, 2024
by Robert Fenech

Annual inflation rate dropped to just 1.6% in April 2024

‘Training and consultancy are crucial for the future of family businesses’ – Dr Joseph Gerada

May 22, 2024
by Sarah Muscat Azzopardi

The Family Business Office Regulator shares recent milestones and what we can expect in the months to come

MFSA urges to financial institutions to clearly list their payment accounts services, terms and fees

May 21, 2024
by Anthea Cachia

Financial institutions were assessed through 50 online or offsite interactions