[WATCH] Ian Borg complains about unpopular Marsa Junction park-and-ride: 'We need change in culture'

Roads Minister Ian Borg says it's up to the public to use the park-and-ride infrastructure included in the new Marsa Junction project

Transport Minister Ian Borg
Transport Minister Ian Borg

Transport Minister Ian Borg is appealing to the public to make use of the Marsa Junction Project's park-and-ride feature, in the hopes of promoting a change in transport culture on the island.

"We can't force people to use public transport," he said on Monday. "From our side we offered the free park-and-ride and all the infrastructure, it's up to the public now."

During a press conference on Thursday dedicated to promoting the park-and-ride, Borg described how the parking space available has 380 spaces to provide both for the park-and-ride and for commuters who need to travel to the Marsa area. 

He added that 70 bus routes pass through the junction, with 60 journeys taking place every hour. However, 120,000 private cars pass through the same junction in that same period. 

"We want people to come and leave their car here, and join the 1,200 persons using public transport," Borg said.

'I don't think it's car-centric'

The Minister went on to argue that the Marsa Junction Project is not car-centric in and of itself, and that it caters for various modes of transport.

"The project thought of everyone. The project thought about those who want to use the park-and-ride, those who use their bike or walk, those who use a private car [...] Only someone who is not objective would say that the project is bad."

He described how the bus terminals at the junction allow four buses to stop at any moment, while dedicated bus lanes provide easy travel for commuters on public transport.

The parking area is also free-of-charge, while Malta Public Transport is taking care of the branding and marketing, Borg said.

Gozo fast ferry initiatives to be announced soon

With the Malta-Gozo fast ferry services starting on 1 June, Borg said that initiatives will be announced "in the hours and days to come" on additional transport options that will connect the ports to places around Malta and Gozo.

These initiatives will cater for those who choose to leave their car in Malta or Gozo when making the trip, and in turn are expected to focus on public transport use.

"I can't not express satisfaction that two operators are working to offer the service, and will be competiting against each other to the benefit of commuters," he said.

Borg added that there had been some criticism on the choice to offer the fast ferry service to pedestrians only, but he said that this provides an opportunity to change the way transport is used.