Y-plate parking abuse: ‘It’s a jungle’ as reports go unactioned

Transport Malta failed to act despite knowing that Y-plate vehicles have taken up public parking spaces in certain areas, MaltaToday has learnt

Transport Malta (TM) has failed to act despite knowing that Y-plate vehicles have taken up public parking spaces in certain areas, MaltaToday has learnt. 

Emails seen by this newspaper confirm that Transport Malta has known about Y-plate vehicles being parked illegally, yet no action was taken to prevent these illegalities. 

A number of emails seen by this newspaper confirm that TM, as well as the police have known about public parking spaces being occupied by Y-plate vehicles for months. But complaints and reports fell on deaf ears. 

In Mosta, MaltaToday has learned that a cab company named D&Co Garage had been illegally parking at least four vehicles in residential parking spots, causing headaches for residents. Despite numerous reports over a number of months to the police, the Mosta local council, as well as TM, the illegality persisted. 

A similar situation in Pietà, next to the PBS building, is also infuriating residents, as a public car park has become the regular parking spot for a large number of Y-plate vehicles. This newspaper is informed that police were already made aware of this situation in April 2023, and since then, the problem has only intensified.  

One resident had been told by the police they “no longer issue contraventions to Y-Plate vehicles but rather the complainant should be passed on to TM.” Despite this, when the issue was reported to TM in May, the agency had replied that they had forwarded the complaint to the relevant department, and yet the illegalities persisted. 

After numerous reports, TM stopped replying to emails sent regarding complaints in the area, and when this newspaper recently visited the area, at least 15 Y-plate vehicles were found to be illegally parked. 

In San Ġwann, TM were also informed of Y-plate vehicles parked in resident parking spaces since last July. Despite repeated reports, TM had never even acknowledged the complaints, and the vehicles remained parked.  

'Industry is a lawless jungle' 

Meanwhile, MaltaToday also spoke to a number of Y-plate owners who feel cheated by TM due to the fact that other drivers in the industry are allowed to do as they please, while they pay thousands in order to operate legally. 

One driver who wished to remain anonymous stated that the only time he had TM officials inspecting his garage was when he applied to register a vintage vehicle. “Other than that,” he said, “they’ve never checked whether or not I even have a garage for my Y-plate vehicle.” 

Another driver who has been in the industry for years expressed his frustration due to the fact that “the industry has become a lawless jungle.” He stated that while TM had never enforced its own regulations regarding garage ownership, “the cab industry has become too saturated (mifqugħa) by careless drivers and fleet owners.” 

The driver lamented the fact that nowadays, he has to compete with law-breakers while he paid thousands of euros to purchase a garage in order to operate legally. 

“I don’t know how they’re going to solve this problem” - Andre Pizzuto 

And to add to the confusion, Kamra tal-Periti President Andre Pizzuto highlighted an overlooked irregularity within the industry regarding a driver’s obligation to garage their vehicles when not in use – it is illegal to store commercial vehicles in residential garages. 

Pizzuto lamented the indifference being shown by TM regarding his organisation’s requests to discuss problems within the latest Y-plate regulations. 

Last July, the Transport Ministry toughened the rules regulating the cab-hailing industry following several controversies. Among the changes, Y-plate owners are now required to annually present the site plan of the garage where they are obliged to park their vehicles when not in use. 

“First of all there was no consultation with us regarding the new law,” Pizzuto said. He further explained that despite the practise is being done, “it is illegal to store commercial vehicles in residential garages.” 

Pizzuta said that Kamra tal-Periti had been trying to contact TM since August but had received no replies since. 

“I don’t know how they’re going to fix this problem,” Pizzuto lamented, as he told this newspaper that he does not want his organisation’s members to sign off on these site plans and risk legal action.