As from February 2020, a further 80 buses powered by compressed natural gas will enter service in the Greater Maputo Metropolitan Area.
This is part of a project by the Maputo Metropolitan Transport Agency in partnership with the company Autogas, which seeks to promote the use of Mozambican natural gas in public transport and thus reduce expenditure on importing liquid fuels.
To this end, the chairperson of the Metropolitan Transport Agency, Antonio Matos, and the Executive Director of Autogas, Joao Neves, signed a memorandum of understanding in Maputo on Tuesday, allowing for the import of 80 buses, and an increase in the use of compressed natural gas for vehicles to 500 million cubic metres annually.
Matos said the import of 80 buses, each with 40 seats, will cost about 3.5 million US dollars. Private companies will operate the buses, and will use bank loans that are to be repaid in 18 months.
The buses will cover routes within Maputo city and province, including Matola city and the districts of Boane, Namaacha, Marracuene and Manhica. Matos said they will carry about 32,000 passengers a day, which works out at well over ten million passengers a year. The buses will provided about 320 jobs for drivers and ticket collectors.
Joao Neves said more such investments are necessary in order to make it economically viable to set up a larger chain of posts selling compressed natural gas throughout the country.
He added that in the next five years the government will import a further 1,000 gas powered buses, manufactured in China.