‘Old routes’ to return with Arriva’s successor

Stakeholders want the old routes back, Transport Minister Joe Mizzi says.

Transport Minister Joe Mizzi (Photo: Ray Attard)
Transport Minister Joe Mizzi (Photo: Ray Attard)

The future public transport routes will be based on the traditional pre-Arriva model, which saw Valletta at the centre of the route network.

In an interview with sister newspaper Illum, Transport Minister Joe Mizzi said the routes are based on the aftermath of a consultation process with the general public and local councils. These were then amended to reflect the present necessities, covering areas that were not well serviced.

"From the consultation process it was evident that all the stakeholders involved wanted the old routes back," Mizzi said.

In a dig at Arriva's overhaul of the bus routes, the minister said it is useless for a passenger to pass through 20 locations before arriving in Valletta.

"Malta's route network cannot work like this. The longer journeys can only work in specific scenarios."

He said he was open to suggestions from the new operator, should the recommendations improve the routes' efficiency. Additional routes would then be considered in the long-term after an eventual improvement.

"We're not promising miracles but I believe there's only room for improvement in the route network. Throughout the months we've shown that despite several obstacles, the transport sector moved forward. We had a contingency plan for the removal of bendy buses, we offered solutions to other problems. The public knows we mean business."

He said the route changes will not occur from the first day the new operator takes over: "One of the main stumbling blocks to Arriva's operations was the major overhaul of Malta's public transport in such a brief time. This is not possible."

Read more in today's issue of Illum.


This is welcome news indeed, Just hope that along with the old routes we also get the old times and buses that we used to have, From 4 per hour down to 2 per hour (if they both turn up) and 1 an hour on Sunday were we used to have 2. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Austin Gatt wanted to, and forced the PN, to arrogantly impose on us, alien systems that were anathema to Maltese bus users. Sort off " F*ck the peasants, let them learn who's the BOSS". We sure as hell showed him who the blo*dy BOSS is!! Now, it seems, we will be getting all our effective, efficient, favorite routes back with improved routing and certainly improved hardware. All we really need now is a mix of appropriately sized smaller buses. Dear fellow citizens do not shy from having to pay for a good service that works, so do expect reasonable fare increases relative to the improvement, which I reckon off the cuff @ 50%.
O.K. that's good. Old routes were established after years of discussions. We hope but that routes that were welcomed by the people will be maintained. The Airport bus service was one of the good routes that were introduced. We all hope that it will be kept, as it was welcomed by the people.
Well done to the Transport Minister for thinking out aloud a feasible strategy based on the real situation on the ground. You cannot design a system on paper without understanding the realities of our roads and traffic flows. This was the major shortcoming of the ARRIVA system.The Valletta hub system had worked for decades and complaints were mainly on the quality of the buses and the demeanour of drivers not the schedule and punctuality. So let us first improve what was wrong and not try out a completely reengineered model untried and untested as was the case with the ARRIVA model which actually deterred people from using the buses and cost the country a bomb.