Tumas Group sells off Arriva stake – reports

Arriva Malta and Tumas Group silent over buy-out of 33% stake in bus company.

Tumas Group chairman George Fenech (left) showing Transport Minister Austin Gatt the new Arriva buses (file photo).
Tumas Group chairman George Fenech (left) showing Transport Minister Austin Gatt the new Arriva buses (file photo).

Arriva International has refused to confirm reports that it has bought out the Tumas Group from Arriva Malta, the company that has been operating Malta's public transport network since July 2011.

MaltaToday is reliably informed that Tumas Group has sold its 33.3% share to the British company, whose head office and bus depot are located at Tumas Group-owned property.

Repeated attempts by MaltaToday to contact Tumas Group directors George Fenech and Ray Fenech have proved to be futile over the past two weeks. On Arriva's part, a spokesman for the Maltese company said it was still awaiting replies from Arriva's bosses in England.

Since setting shop in Malta, Arriva has been on the receiving end of much criticism. At the beginning, the company had justified the delays and numerous bus breakdowns as "teething problems", owing to wildcat strikes by bus drivers on the first day of operation, a lack of buses, and other route network issues.

Though the service has since been improved, in part through a task force headed by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, criticism still remains as to how the new, wider buses slow down traffic or clog the narrow Maltese roads.

The public transport reform has almost cost Transport Minister Austin Gatt his seat in Cabinet following a no-confidence motion filed by the Opposition in November 2011. Gatt was saved by the Speaker's casting vote when Nationalist MP Franco Debono abstained on the motion.

The result of the parliamentary vote had forced Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi to take the reform under his wing and develop a task force. One of the jobs of the task force - which included the Police corps, the Armed Forces of Malta, Transport Malta and Arriva - was to give priority to public transport during rush hour.

Arriva Malta's winning bid saw off French consortium Transdev Plus, made up of Transdev, the Gasan Group, and CVA Technology Ltd, which operates the controlled vehicle access system in Valletta.

In recent news, London mayor Boris Johnson amused delegates to the British Conservatives' conference in Birmingham when he said Arriva's bendy-buses were "now clogging the streets of Malta" as he paid tribute to the Routemaster double-deckers that the Greater London government had acquired.

Riding on the mirth, the Labour party issued billboards deriding Austin Gatt for his choice of bendy buses.

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I am sure the recent massive increase in the subsidy given by government to Arriva has helped on the share price.
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Imma ser jibqghu jimportaw u wara jbieghu lill-Arriva ix-xarabankijiet, jew mhux huma kienu
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TUMAS Group have agreed with the majority of Maltese and spoken with their pockets. The PL are now free to take real effective action. Austin Gatt hooks another massive blow to his face and his unbridled arrogance.
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Imma ser jibqghu jimportaw u wara jbieghu lill-Arriva ix-xarabankijiet, jew mhux huma kienu?
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Buzulotta wahda wara l'ohra...Gonzi xtaq il-feedback tan-nies. Hawn hi tieghi: Jekk terga titla, ohloq Ministeru tal-Buzulotti. Ministru Austin, Kap tas-segretarjat Manwelinu u PA Claudio Sa Tutto!
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Imma ser jibqghu jimportaw u wara jbieghu lill-Arriva ix-xarabankijiet, jew mhux huma kienu?
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Imma ser jibqghu jimportaw u wara jbieghu lill-Arriva ix-xarabankijiet, jew mhux huma kienu?
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Imma ser jibqa' jimporta u jbeghlhom il-karozzi, jew mhux hu kien?

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