Entrepreneur Anglu Xuereb met transport chief over monorail project

Project for monorail running across island already discussed with Transport Malta chief James Piscopo

Entrepreneur Anglu Xuereb has a new big idea in mind...
Entrepreneur Anglu Xuereb has a new big idea in mind...

Transport Malta chief James Piscopo has met entrepreneur Anglu Xuereb over the latter's proposal for a monorail and underground transport system.

This week, the hotelier and construction magnate resuscitated the underground transport system, which he had first proposed 23 years ago. However, over the years the project has evolved and Xuereb has now settled for a monorail system - which would be partly above ground level - and a ferry service linking Sliema, Valletta and the Three Cities.

TM chief James Piscopo told MaltaToday that he met Xuereb and explained that "various projects and creative ideas suggested by Mr Xuereb were discussed, including his vision for a monorail system."

Asked whether the authority was looking for alternative modes of transportation, Piscopo said that "TM will evaluate various options, including monorail and sea transport systems. TM believes that other modes of transport should complement the traditional public transport system in order to contribute further towards a model shift, whereby commuters are encouraged to use more available transportation systems as opposed to their personal car".

Public transport has been at the centre of controversy in the past three years and the country's perennial transport problems have been compounded by the recent departure of public transport operators Arriva.

Admitting that an underground system would be unsustainable, Xuereb explained that his revised proposal incorporates a monorail which would mainly be above ground and operate 24/7.

Explaining that the proposal would cost around €300 million, Xuereb said that the electric cabins (or people carriers) would take up the lion's share of the projected cost.

"I estimate that the whole project would cost around €300 million. That's the capital expenditure. But it includes the underground car parks which will cost a substantial amount. If it's managed by the private sector, they could be financed privately. Therefore, the capital expenditure would not necessarily be a burden on the government's budget."

However, the entrepreneur said that government would need to cover the expenses to construct tunnels, although such a project could also be eligible for EU funds.

Asked why his proposal was shelved by successive governments, Xuereb explained that the previous PN administration had overlooked the project because it deemed it too expensive.

"They could not understand that the estimated cost was high because of the tunnels," he said.

Xuereb welcomed the fact that in the 2014 Budget, the Labour administration announced that a "feasibility study on transport will be undertaken to evaluate the possibilities of underground and monorail services".

He said the network would cover 7.5km, including a 2km stretch in Marsa which would be elevated. Xuereb is proposing the creation of four stations in Valletta, Fgura, Marsa and Msida next to Mater Dei Hospital.

"These four places will not only serve as stations where the monorail stops but they would also serve as interchange stations. Moreover, buses will transport people to these stations and people can also drive directly to the stations in their private cars," he said, explaining that underground car parks which can take up to 2,000 vehicles would be constructed in these stations.

Xuereb added that the proposal includes the use of ferry boats which would go through a tunnel beneath Valletta, allowing the boats to carry passengers from Sliema to Valletta and The Three Cities.

"You cannot look at the ferries or the monorail in isolation. We need a monorail which encourages people to use public transport and at the same time link the north and south parts of the islands by sea."

The project should include Airport and possibly Cirkewwa, other main cities such as Bugibba Birkirkara, Mosta, Poala(MCast)Zabbar Marsascala.... .Maybe industrial areas such as Mriehel,tourists area such as st Julians and Rabat.
Unless the whole island is covered there is no use for this. If AX wants to do this let him go ahead, any profit there is he gets any loss, well he gets as well.
Joseph MELI
So what was the outcome of this meet?
Has Anglu Xuereb ever carried a feasibility study, considering that malta is a small country with a small population, which means we have a limited market?