As from this week new tariffs have been introduced for VRT tests and within a two-year period there are plans that some motorcycles will also have to undergo testing. With effect from the beginning of this year the sector has also been liberalised and there is now no limit on the number of VRT operators as long as their applications conform to the legal regulations and planning.
Twenty years after VRT testing began, the tariffs have been increased. Testing of private vehicles has now been increased by €5 to just over €25, while commercial vehicle testing has been increased by €10. Tests of all vehicles will increase by a further €5 in three years’ time.
Transport Malta official Vince Micallef Pule explained the reasons for the increased tariffs.
He said the 2018 directive added responsibility in testing procedures, the quality of equipment needed by the testing station and thus an increase in expenses. These factors added to liberalisation have resulted in gradual increase of tariff fees following a report commissioned by the authority in agreement with operators in the sector evaluating the viability of VRT tests and to ensure a fair return to operators while cushioning the impact on consumers.
New private vehicles have to undergo VRT testing after four years on the road and then have to continue biannual testing. When 160,000 kilometres are exceeded, the test becomes annually. New commercial vehicles have to test after two years and after that have to be tested annually.
Micallef Pule said in two years’ time motorcycles over 125 cylinders will also become obliged for VRT testing. Another reform also affects the testing operators.
Those with pending applications or have yet to apply have to conform to the legislated standards. One of the conditions is that any new VRT station to be opened has to be within an industrial zone.
Currently there are 34 licenced VRT operators who between them carry out 200,000 tests annually and vehicles are classified according to test results.
Micallef Pule said that commercial vehicles that have been on the road for over 13 years, mainly diesel powered, experience difficulties in passing the test. He said that last year 2,200 vehicles passed the test but were later recalled by the authority for further testing.
Asked about the type of testing that takes place, Micallef Pule said the authority analyses the test results and carries out inspections as needed.
He said that each VRT station’s results are analysed including the rate of failure, the number of tests carried out and reports made about the station by individuals.
Micallef Pule said that over the last three years the authority withdrew the licences of five operators because of shortcomings.