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Increase in cars a ‘certificate of failure’ of public transport reform

As of the end of June 2012 – almost exactly a year after the public transport reform was launched – the stock of cars increased by 1.9% when compared to 2011.

Raphael Vassallo
8 August 2012, 12:00am
One of the aims of the public transform was to reduce the number of cars on the road.
One of the aims of the public transform was to reduce the number of cars on the road.
Statistics released yesterday confirm that Maltese commuters still prefer to own and use private vehicles rather than rely on the public transport system: further proof, according to Opposition spokesman Joe Sammut, of the failure of the recent Arriva reform.

As of the end of June 2012 - almost exactly a year after the reform was launched - the stock of licensed motor vehicles stood at 314,299, up by 1.9% when compared to 2011.

Of these new vehicles, the vast majority - 79% - involved passenger cars. New licences issued during the period under review amounted to 4,301. Again, most of the new licences (3,448, or 80.2% of the total) were issued to passenger cars, followed by goods carrying vehicles with 393.

"This only confirms what we have been saying for ages: it is a clear certificate of failure of the public transport reform," Joe Sammut, Labour's spokesman on public transport, said yesterday.

Part of the original aims of the public transform was in fact to reduce traffic congestion by lessening the number of cars on the road.

To date, Arriva Malta's website still lists the reduction of private vehicle usage as one of its main targets. "Everybody should and can help reduce global warming, let alone air pollution, with one simple gesture: leave your car at home," the website states. "Using public transportation you will significantly reduce the amount of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions you generate each day."

Sammut pointed out how the declared aims of the reform seemed to directly contradict the reality experienced by the man in the street.

"Let's not forget that when they launched the reform, they also removed a number of parking bays in various localities," Sammut said, adding that this indicated a prediction that the number of cars on the road - and with it, the demand for parking spaces - would decrease.

"But the opposite has happened. Evidently people do not feel they can rely on an unreliable service. The reality is that the service is not delivering as promised. The complaints we hear are that people still find themselves waiting one hour, one and a half hours, sometimes more, for late buses."

The increase in demand for private transport, he said, was therefore a direct reflection of "a lack of public trust in the system".

Nicholas Balzan
Min ghandu l-bzar ha jroxxu. U haw bzar x'jintraxx l-ahwa tieghi. Tant ghandu bzar f'ghajnejh il-poplu li ghal sitt darbiet minn sebgha tella' lill-PN fil-gvern. Mela roxxuh il-bzar l-ahwa u lill-morda halluhom jitqallbu.
alfred zarb
Manuel Delia ma nafx x'wicc irid ikollok biex tohrog ghall elezzjoni u titlob il vot lill poplu wara id dizastru li hloqtu bl-Arriva.Iz zmien tal buzullotti spicca mela ghala hiereg?
Malcolm Mifsud
The trouble is that the ARRIVA bus service is not dependable . When using it you have to factor in at least an extra 30 min for delays in going from A to B. This is fine if you are not time bound as is the case with pensioners and tourists but is totally unacceptable if you have to go to work or an appointment. I left my private car in the garage for a week but then I gave up because of frustration in not being able to plan my working day. To be fair the fault is only partly to blame on ARRIVA because the major delay factor is that our roads are too heavily clogged with traffic. There are only two solutions as I see it. (i) Create a bus lane for public buses and only route buses through roads where such a bus lane is possible.This is the solution in cities abroad. However it would mean commuters having to walk more to a bus stop (10 minutes is considered reasonable abroad) and private car passengers being forced to switch to buses or suffer huge delays. This being Malta one can imagine the general protests which such a measure would raise. (ii) Create a basic underground communication system be it trolley bus, train or even tracked electric buses spanning east west and north south. Surface buses would then be used solely as feeder systems to this network and involve short runs. We must start planning a serious overall traffic management system as soon as possible for the day of a permanent gridlock on our roads is bound to occur sooner rather than later.
albert leone
‘certificate of failure’ is putting it mildly! There is also the consideration of the fact that since the advent of aArriva, the parkng spaces have been reduced drastically AND HAVE HAD VERY HIGH TARIFFS IMPOSED on Park & Ride areas on Government Ground! IL-BUZOLLOTTI MHUX TALLI SPICCAW TALLI JINHOLQU mit-talent limitat ta' Gonzi PN, tal-Ministri tieghu bhal ASStin Gatt u tal-Konsulenti u state-of-the-ASS ASSistenti li ghandhu fil-Ministeri tieghu, bhal dak il-pompus MANWEL DELIA!
Paul Dalli
Ilu mhux hazin ma johrog jiffanfra dwar l-arriva il-bully tal-belt u ta' marsalforn - dak li qalilna li zmien il-buzullotti issa ghadda !!!! Mid-dehra issa dan il-bully u dak l-assistent li ma jqaxxarx il-lehja ilhom ma jersqu lejn it-terminus tal-belt -- ghax kieku jmorru, jkollhom x'jaghmlu mhux hazin. Jien sirt nuza l-arriva f'din l-ahhar sena ghax ma kellix alternattiva imma ..... drivers jidghu, smajt; drivers jitkellmu hazin, smajt; drivers jieqfu f'nofs it-triq biex jitkellmu ma' driver iehor fuq bus gejja min-naha l-ohra, smajt u rajt; drivers isuqu u jitkellmu fuq il-mobile, rajt u smajt; drivers jitkellmu mal-mara jew mat-tfajla tul it-trip kollu, rajt ukoll; drivers jitkellmu ma' nies bil-wieqfa hdejhom quddiem is-sinjal bl-isfar fl-art tal-bus, rajt; drivers ma jieqfux fuq il-bus stop avolja jkunu cemplu l-passiggieri, rajt; drivers idoqqu r-radio, smajt u rajt; drivers il-hin kollu jiehdu brakes goffi u qawwija tant li jaqlghulek l-istonku, rajt u smajt u hassejthom jien stess; u drivers jitilqu fi x'hin iridu huma, rajt ukoll. MHUX DARBA JEW TNEJN TRIP MA JSIRX U QISU MA GARA XEJN - waqt li l-gabbana tal-information il-Belt qieghda hemm ta' xejn ghax kulma jaghtuk hu l-orarju ta' meta l-bus suppost titlaq mhux meta veru jkun se jsir it-trip - bhalli kieku ma nafux naqraw !!!! IZDA M'HEMMX GHALFEJN NGHIDU ---- IL-BULLY TAL-BELT U L-ASSISTENT ZDINGAT TA' MADWARU ISSA JIGU JITMELLHU MILL-ARRIVA ..... ISSA JIGRU WARA XI VOT QIEGHDIN ...
Isabella Camilleri
The Maltese love their cars, and they have the financial means to keep a car. Because of short distances, fuel costs are low. Moreover, I have a feeling that people here firmly believe having a car is a status symbol and most associate using public transport with being in financial straits. I believe that public transport will continue to be used mainly by people who don't drive and tourists.
Raymond Mintoff
last general elections labour had suggested a water way project that would have decreased the traffic an d public transport problem, but gonzipn simply took the mikki out of it, now look were it all got us.
Raymond Mintoff
ZMIEN IL-BUZZULLOTTI SPICCA -- but only after the next general elections.
Adrian Sultana
Arriva should change its slogan to "Taking Malta for a ride"
Hon. Sammut is right. With the old system, I never used the car to go to work.. with the new system, I have to drive to Rabat every day and catch no. 51/52/53 since the one departing from Dingli (no.52) is not reliable at all. Back to home from work, I spent 20 to 30 minutes a day in the sun waiting for 51/52/53 to come.. according to Arriva's timetable, these should be every 10 mins... clearly a failure.
Joseph Cuschieri
Good One PL.......mela all economists regard the purchase of cars as a good economic indicator, and here "Only in Malta" the PL is using this nonsense to try to lambast the government on a major reform taken. Try to be serious, after all this Movement will soon be managing this country. Hope they will not try to lower our purchasing power in order to buy fewer cars. And what about the court case against the Govt for Vat paid on second hand cars. Was this action not aimed to increase the cars on the road by making cars more accessible to lower income groups?. Well nothing more to add except Stupidity at its best....
Miriam Rizzo
Yep - the inescapable truth. The budget spent was enough to built a light rail system (LRT) and/or an underground system - something that is done routinely in more built up cities with towering sky scarpers, and rivers and under ground fragile mud to complicate things. Instead we allowed a couple of assholes to steal the money in broad daylight and wreck havoc on the country. But apparently these emperors are untouchable and anyone who demands accountability will be destroyed. And let's not forget that the government and in particular Austin Gatt then went on a campaign to harass drivers - increasing bus lanes and reducing parking.
emanuel cauchi
Just as an idea of the increase, road planners usually allow for a 1% increase in traffic per annum. This is borne out of statistics about cars. The increase mentioned is practically double that.
Lino Bonett
above all it's an absurdity that for example road tax for motorcycles increased by as much as 280%, this really helps ease traffic congestion.
Noel Abela
love him or hate him Dr Franco Debono "always spot on"
pamela sinn
Dear Mr Sammut, this is proof enough that Mr Joe Public has enough money in his pocket to spend, and prefers to travel in the comfort of a private car than public transport.
George Muscat
For the last two days, the bus that should arrive at 06.32 on bus stop 1169 (Dingli Street Sliema) never passed through Manwel Dimech to Savoy to go to Valletta, that means that at least people on five bus stops were left there because of the inability of some arrogant drivers. When someone on the same bus tried to draw the attension, all he was told by the well educated driver was to shut his mouth and stay put. Is the the efficiency and timely Public transport service we were promised by his greatness Dr Gonzi and his untalented transport Minister Autin Gatt. Well done ARRIVE and especially Mr Bustow.
Manuel Scicluna
An underground system in Valletta? Ha! Valletta is the size of a postage stamp. One can walk around Valletta in minutes
I am no PN supporter but I would like to know the PLs' or Dr Muscat's view on the public transport system. Is he going to re-introduce the same routes as before with extended hours like up to midnight as in other European cities. Is he going to consider the possibility of introducing a tram system in the much needed areas of Valletta - Sliema - Hamrum - B'Kara - Three Cities area. Is the possibility of introducing an undeground going to be considered seeing that there are are already the foundations for such a system laid out in Valletta?